Supported by:

German British Forum

The German British Forum Conference 2015, 28 January 2015

After a very successful event in Manchester on January we would like to share with you some comments from attendees:

Event Details:


How SMEs and mid-sized companies can grow and internationalise

Learn what independently-owned companies in both countries are doing to grow and increase exports

Access Germany: meet organisations, such as the British Chamber of Commerce in Germany, that can help you access German markets

Exchange business ideas with up to 200 delegates from the UK and Germany

Speakers from The KOMET Group, Jungheinrich UK, The Schauenburg Group, the KfW – Germany’s Development Bank, BVMW – Germany’s Mittelstand association, Naylor Industries and more.

The mighty Mittelstand of Germany has made headlines in recent months, as the world has become more aware of the qualities of these robust, international small and medium-sized companies of German-speaking countries.

Their strengths include strong training and an education system tightly linked to business where students learn about work while studying; the confidence within SMEs in product design and engineering capability to go global; a powerful international chamber, the Handelskammer; and a stable financial system based largely on low debt and relationship banking.

But Germany has its problems, including a slowing economy and an ageing workforce. The UK meanwhile, while also slowing at the moment, has shown good growth compared with its European neighbour. And while much of Germany’s engineering capability is the envy of Europe, British companies may feel they have the edge over German firms in certain aspects of business, such as customer service.

What can small and mid-sized, privately owned companies from these countries, which are looking for international growth, learn from each other?

The German British Forum with Stirling Media presents the next GBF conference, a forum to meet peers, discuss ideas about training, funding and exports for mid-sized companies, and for UK companies to find routes to market in Germany.

Understand the factors that help many German Mittelstand firms export so successfully.

Access markets in Germany, or learn more about doing so.

Learn more about Germany’s business, education and financial system.

Network with peers, manufacturers, UK & foreign trade organisations.

See a demonstration of trade data packages for SMEs that provide information to pick foreign markets – provided by Delta Economics.

Date: January 28, 2015

Venue: Manchester United Football Club,
Old Trafford, Manchester, M16 0RA

More information: Contact Will Stirling or Kira Raebel at the German British Forum
on +44 (0) 20 8892 0416 and +44 (0) 7920 179496.

Email:, and
This conference is kindly sponsored by: The German British Forum,GE Capital, Grant ThorntonBOSCH, Nabarro LLP and Jungheinrich UKIt is also supported by the British Chamber of Commerce in Germany, The Access GroupThe Foreign Commonwealth Office and The Manufacturer’s Alliance.

Wednesday 28-01-2015

08:00 - 09:00
09:00 - 09:10
Welcome & Introduction
Speakers: Dr Andreas Prothmann, German Embassy in London
Head of the Economic Department of the German Embassy in London
09:10 - 09:35
Keynote Speaker I
Speakers: Mario Ohoven, BVMW
President of the German Association for Small- and Medium-Sized Businesses
09:35 - 10:00
Keynote Speaker II
Speakers: Mark Hastings, Institute for Family Business
Director General of the Institute for Family Business (IFB), Mark Hastings, will talk about the power of family-owned businesses in the UK.
10:00 - 10:25
Exports - KOMET Group: Leaving The Comfort Zone – Ready For Internationalisation Take Off
Speakers: Dr -Ing Christof Bönsch, The KOMET Group
CEO of the KOMET Group, Dr Christof Bönsch, will describe the strategic approach, the implementation process but also the challenges that go along with internationalisation.
10:25 - 10:50
Exports - The Schauenburg Group
Speakers: Florian Schauenburg, The Schauenburg Group
CEO of the Schauenburg Group, Florian Schauenburg, will give an insight on the structural change of a German family-owned business
10:50 - 11:15
Exports - UK view: How to grow a mid-sized company - Naylor Industries
Speakers: Edward Naylor, Naylor Industries
CEO of Naylor Industries, Edward Naylor, will give an account of how to grow a British mid-sized company.
11:15 - 11:45
Coffee Break
11:45 - 12:00
Exports - An Expert Opinion from DELTA Economics
Speakers: Dr Rebecca Harding, Delta Economics
CEO of Delta Economics, Dr Rebecca Harding, will look at some of the key opportunities and risks SMEs and medium-sized businesses will be facing over the next years and will suggest where they may be best placed to take advantage of them.
12:00 - 12:30
Education - The German Dual System of Vocational Education & Training (VET)
Speakers: Claus Oellerking, Vocational College for Trade and Logistics in Bremen - Almut Lüpkes, Dual Education Expert and Freelance Coach
Headmasters and educational coaches, Claus Oellerking and Almut Lüpkes, will discuss VET from an educational and business perspective, including first hand experiences.
12:30 - 13:00
Education - Education & Traning Panel Debate
Speakers: Claus Oellerking, Vocational College for Trade and Logistics in Bremen - Almut Lüpkes, Dual Education Expert and Freelance Coach - Bernard Molloy, Unipart Logistics - Jan Lorenz, Jungheinrich UK - Jonathan Collinge, adidas
Educational Experts from Germany and the UK, including representatives from Jungheinrich UK and the Adidas Group
13:00 - 14:00
Lunch Break
14:00 - 14:25
Finance - The KfW and the German Mittelstand
Speakers: Christian Krämer, KfW
First Vice President of the KfW, Christian Krämer, will present Germany's "Mittelstand"-bank. Having helped to rebuild Germany after WWII the KfW is still a hugely important part of the German financial system. Mr Krämer will explain how KfW works, how it supports SMEs and how it is linked to the German banks.
14:25 - 14:50
Finance - SMEs & MSBs: A European Perspective
Speakers: Thomas Besch, HYDRO Systems KG and HYDRO Group - Shaun O’Callaghan, Grant Thornton UK
How are mid-sized firms making the best use of their resources in the search for growth? Presentation given by Grant Thornton and Hydro Systems KG.
14:50 - 15:15
Finance - The British Way of Growth
Speakers: Professor Stephen Roper, Warwick Business School
Professor of Enterprise and Director of the Enterprise Research Centre at Warwick Business School, Stephen Roper, will discuss growth strategies for mid-size companies in the UK and continental Europe
15:15 - 15:30
Finance - A UK Perspective: The Business Growth Fund
Speakers: Stephen Welton, The Business Growth Fund
CEO of the Business Growth Fund, Stephen Welton, will explain how the BGF has helped to fund mid-sized businesses in the UK as an alternative to bank lending and private equity.
15:30 - 15:50
Tea/ Coffee & Networking
15:50 - 16:30
Panel Debate - Finance for mid-sized businesses
Speakers: Christian Krämer, KfW - Stephen Welton, The Business Growth Fund - Thomas Besch, HYDRO Systems KG and HYDRO Group - Alasdair Steele, Nabarro LLP
Should the UK try to adopt Germany’s financial system; or is a multi-choice, more Anglo-Saxon finance market the best? - A debate about different models of finance for SMEs and MSBs in the UK, Germany and Europe. Joining the panel is David Brimelow, MD of Manchester-based DUO UK, and Christoper Simpson, an expert on Sparkassen
16:30 - 16:50
Closing Keynote - Lessons from Germany's and Britain's Hidden Champions
Speakers: Alessa Witt, Edinburgh Business School
Expert on Hidden Champions and PhD student from the University of Edinburgh Business School, Alessa Witt, will give us an insight about her research on Hidden Champions in the German and British markets.
19:00 - 22:00
Post-Conference Dinner @ Emirates Old Trafford, Members' Suite (Drinks reception starts at 18:30)
Speakers: Robert Hough CBE, Peel Holdings
For more information and reservations please email: or