The path to lasting success

The path to lasting success

Rainer kober played a key role in the establishment of the kronach innovation center. In an interview, he spoke about the tasks and goals of the association.

How did the innovation center kronach (IZK) come about and what is its objective??
The foundation of the innovation center is the result of several years of joint deliberations by the industry and trade committee, coburg university, the county council and county entrepreneurs to maintain the vitality of the county’s economic power and develop it further despite demographic challenges. The intention of forming a cluster was opposed by the diversity of our district economy, which was recognized as being strong. On the other hand, it was recognized that the common challenge was to adapt quickly to the constant, accelerating changes in markets, products and services. That’s why the goal of the newly founded IZK is to enable the regional business community to align itself strategically for the future and to systematically strengthen its own innovative capacity. This task is faced by every company, including craftsmen and service providers.

The IZK is therefore supported by an association. Who is actually behind it?
First and foremost, the IZK is financed out of the economy. The association is led by the two chairmen hans rebhan and thomas kneitz as well as a multi-headed board of directors, which also includes district administrator oswald marr.

Given the annual contribution of up to 10,000 euros, how has the response been so far??
The IZK currently has almost 40 member companies, which pay annual contributions of between 1,000 and 10,000 euros, depending on their economic strength. But the city and district of kronach are also involved. As you can see, the response is rough. We have been surprised and encouraged by the high level of willingness of companies to contribute both financially and personally, and thus to maintain and make the region attractive by strengthening its economic power.

How much money is required to actually put the IZK on a broad footing?
In the first stage, 150,000 euros per year, most of which is personnel expenses for management and an assistant. The task of establishing the IZK and making the service it offers successful and well-known is certainly not an easy one for them.

The model of the IZK is based on three stages. The first stage is about strengthening the regional economy. What does that mean??
Particularly in owner-operated small and medium-sized companies, there are bottlenecks that there is not enough time to solve in everyday life. This is where the support of the innovation center should come in and provide competent service partners for the approaches desired by the entrepreneur. What medium-sized business has the time to look around for a designer that suits its needs, for example, or to find a competent research institution for its specific problem?? This task is performed by the IZK and at the same time it advises on possible state subsidies.
In addition, the work of the IZK is about strengthening the ability to strategically position one’s own company for the future and to successfully implement the strategy that has been developed. For this purpose, the IZK, in cooperation with the coburg design forum, offers interested entrepreneurs a series of workshops in which they can develop or review their own business strategy with professional guidance and support and align it in such a way that they will be successful thanks to the special benefits offered to their customer target group. This method, known as the bottleneck-concentrated strategy, has already helped countless companies, including the wurth company, to achieve lasting success.

In a second step, an innovation campus is to be established. Where should it be located and when could it actually start??
The vision and the plan are to locate such an innovation campus as an outsourcing of the coburg university in kronach. Depending on the progress of development, this will be possible in two to three years.

It is even hoped that the third stage will lead to new livelihoods. Why is this necessary at all, given the high density of industry in the district of kronach??
Our high industrial density generates many high-performance manufacturing companies. By activating the innovative ability and willingness of companies to innovate, as well as the spirit of innovation that will develop in the district as a result of the campus, new companies will also be created in a meaningful way, which is expected to increase the previously below-average supply of academic positions in the region. Quite apart from that, an attractive range of jobs makes the region interesting for newcomers.

Another personal question: why do you support the district of kronach in so many ways??
I am happy about every progress in our county and especially about the fact that a lot has happened in the last few years. Success makes people happy and confident and encourages them to take further action. I just enjoy making a contribution. For me, the best thing would be if the development that has already begun would continue to accelerate, making our county one of the most vital and livable counties in upper franconia. This idea motivates me.

Coburg university plays an important role in the coburg innovation center. The FT therefore asked university president professor michael potzl to comment on the project. "The name is the program. The three most important players in the region’s competitiveness – business, local politics and science – have identified a key issue for the high-tech companies based here and developed a forward-looking three-stage concept. The coburg university of applied sciences with its expertise in the field of innovation strategies can provide important impulses in the technology alliance of upper franconia. Whether in the transfer of knowledge or, for example, through extra-occupational courses of study."


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