Rhineland-Palatinate boosts innovation – discussion and exchange of ideas during Minister of Economic Affairs visit
Just a few months ago, Rhineland-Palatinate Minister of Economic Affairs Daniela Schmitt introduced the state’s new Innovation Agency in Mainz. In future, the agency will be the central point of contact in Rhineland-Palatinate’s innovation ecosystem, providing Mittelstand companies in particular with the support they need. “The Innovation Agency should function like a satnav for development, funding and proposals, all the way to market readiness. It will be a service provider for entrepreneurs, founders, scientists, institutes and our chamber partners,” Minister Schmitt explained. At present, the question of whether a good business idea ultimately becomes a real innovation is more often than not still up to chance. The aim of the Innovation Agency is to systematise this chance.
The Minister’s visit to Dr Eckel Animal Nutrition presented the opportunity to exchange views and experiences related to innovation. The company has just filed a patent for a new feed additive, the first in a series of steps paving the way to successful market entry. And this is precisely where the new Innovation Agency comes in, serving as an important partner for the Mittelstand.
The visit was hosted by the Ahrweiler FDP district association, which was well represented that evening. With regard to innovation, the integration of international skilled workers was a further important issue discussed by Daniela Schmitt, Dr. Eckel CEO Dr Antje Eckel, Dr Viktor Eckel, FDP District Chairman Ulrich van Bebber and Association Mayor Johannes Bell. Dr. Eckel, a hidden champion operating at an international level, is an attractive employer for high potentials from all over the world, as evidenced by its multinational team of employees from 20 different countries. However, everyday life in Germany is still hampered with a lot of bureaucracy, especially for non-EU citizens, from the issuing of visas and the recognition of degrees and documents, to an honest culture of welcome in government departments. The more successful we are in eliminating these difficulties, the more will all parties involved—employees, companies and municipalities alike—benefit.
“Rhineland-Palatinate is a good location for businesses,” concluded Antje Eckel as the visit came to an end. “We are the ‘state of short distances’ and are way ahead of larger federal states like Bavaria and North Rhine–Westphalia.” The common goal of the state, the region and the economy must be to leverage both this advantage and the many opportunities for the benefit of businesses. This would benefit not only the companies, but also the municipalities and, in turn, each and every one of us.