New approach to innovation promotion: Training programme for transfer mediators with a focus on competence development and further training offers
SMEs rarely develop technological innovations and rarely use appropriate funding programmes for that. In this field „transfer mediators“ act today as connecting satellites to ensure that programmes are actually used. These mediators work e.g. as facilitators for chambers, business development agencies or industry networks and district administrations.
But the knowhow of the mediators is limited in understanding what the companies actually need, what support is relevant in each case and how it can be obtained for implementation. It is a complex challenge for mediators, namely to know top performance in technology, to have individual sales competence, to possess communication skills and to have up-to-date knowhow about relevant funding programmes.
The approach is to qualify the transfer mediators as facilitators with a focus on competence development and specific further training on topics:
-Basic knowledge of support programmes for SMEs
-Expert training on funding programmes, innovation modelling and patent law
-Communication and consulting training for transfer mediators
-Business visits to digitally well-positioned and innovative SMEs
-Visits to research institutes for advanced digital technologies
-Tailor-made sales and communication training
-Training on agile innovation methods for SMEs and transfer mediators
-Advanced training in the marketing of innovations, systematic trend scouting and business development

Resources needed

For the development of tailor-made qualifications a central qualification for regional projects and actors is needed with a budget of ca. 15.000.00 € for the procurement of specific training services for transfer agents. Local training services are procured via standard award procedures.

Evidence of success

To date there is no specific support programme for transfer agents. A study showed how little prior knowhow there is in sales, technology, communication and funding. The training addresses the strengthening of competences in these areas. More than 100 participants from business development agencies and intermediary organisations took part in these qualifications. The response was extremely positive, especially the targeted practical orientation and the pragmatically usable know-how were praised.

Potential for learning or transfer

The NRW.innovation partner OWL is consciously docked to the internationally renowned technology network it's OWL. This gives the network a boost in terms of perception and reach. At the same time, in addition to supporting transfer agents, the project can also integrate transfer partners from science quickly and precisely. This structure proves to be optimal in terms of technical competence, reach and standing vis-à-vis regional entrepreneurs.
At the same time, the NRW.Innovation Partner sees itself as a supporter of transfer brokers and companies, as well as a mouthpiece for the region in dialogue with funding institutions.
It is particularly positive that this practice can be transferred to other regions very easily and that the individual qualification can optimise the behaviour of administration. Finally, experience shows that the latent need among those involved is much greater than originally assumed.

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Main institution
it's OWL NRW.Innovationspartner
Detmold, Germany (Deutschland)
Start Date
August 2018
End Date
December 2021


Thorsten Brinkmann Please login to contact the author.

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