SMEs in cooperation with regional networks for skilled labour: Successful, applied strategies and recommendations for implementation

In Germany, a large number of network initiatives pursue the goal of ensuring the supply of skilled workers at the regional level. These networks gather different representatives of local political institutions as well as from the business sector. The “Innovationsbüro Fachkräfte für die Region” (, a “network of networks”, consults and coordinates these initiatives. This institution commissioned the present project.

An important issue and, at the same time, a big challenge for many networks is to motivate small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to actively participate in the networks. Still, high potential for enhancement is found there and more information and action are needed to fully exploit the opportunities given to SMEs by those networks. The research project of the IAW aims to examine the role of SMEs in networks for skilled labor. The research focuses on the following tasks and goals:

  • Cooperation between regional initiatives and SMEs are examined through a standardized survey among the regional networks’ coordinators. The main research question focuses on the actual roles of SMEs within networks.
  • Case studies of networks and firms will identify the success factors and indicate the challenges of the participation of SMEs. These case studies are based on interviews with network coordinators and SME representatives.
  • The empirical results will be discussed in a panel of experts and undergo further development. As a result, information is generated and provided which can be used to formulate recommendations for the involved stakeholders.

All in all, the study will contribute to the professionalization of the network-enterprise-cooperation and it aims to achieve and establish sustainable, operational progress in the processes concerning the availability of skilled labor in regions and companies.

Commissioned by:

Project team:

  • Dr. Andreas Koch (Project leader)
  • Franziska Deeg
  • Günther Klee
  • Dr. Jochen Späth
  • Prof. Dr. Bernhard Boockmann

Contact Person:
Dr. Andreas Koch ( +49 7071 9896 12 // E-Mail )


2016 - 2017