By William Telford, Business Editor, Herald


The organisers of one of Germany’s biggest business conferences are looking to attract Plymouth firms in 2017.

The Herald was invited to the huge day-long MUT (Mittelständischer Unternehmertag) trade show in the East German city of Leipzig.

The event is aimed at SMEs and attracted about 4,000 business leaders from across Germany, plus 120 exhibitors, to the massive Leipzig Congress Centre (below).


The show is now in its 12th year and is already among the top 10 such events in Germany – out of 250 staged annually.

But ambitious organisers aren’t content to stop there – they want to be number one in Germany and reach out internationally too.

The 2016 MUT attracted firms from across Germany, and even welcomed a delegation of 33 large companies from China.

And MUT bosses told Herald Business it wants to welcome firms and delegates from the UK and Plymouth.


Businesses from Leipzig visited the Devon Business Show, at Plymouth Pavilions, in 2015 and 2016, and the two nations and cities now have the opportunity to strengthen bonds before the UK makes its Brexit from the European Union.

Frank Leibmann (below), who runs Leipzig public relations business Leibmann PR, promoted the MUT and said: “When we started the first MUT 12 years ago it was regional, now it’s international.


“We have a plan for the next 10 years, which is to grow. But it’s growing faster than we have planned.

“We want to be the biggest congress for SMEs in Germany. We have firms here today from Dresden and Berlin, but want to spread even wider.

“When we get better connections with Plymouth and the UK it’s another step for us being international.”

Alexander Lohse, managing director of BVMW, the firm running the MUT business show, said the even continues to grow every year, mirroring the expanding economies of Germany and Leipzig.

But he said: “The UK has not sent people, I don’t know why. We visited the business show in Plymouth.

“But let’s do a launch for UK companies, like we did this year for the Chinese delegation.”


Martin Buhl-Wagner (above), chief executive of Leipziger Messe, which staged the MUT, said the show attracts companies to Saxony and Leipzig.

“It creates a platform to communicate,” he said. “This congress is special for the region and one of the biggest in Germany.

“And it shows Leipzig is an open city, a welcoming city.”

Dr Ilona Buergel (above), a psychologist working with confectionery company Holcuren on how chocolate can energise staff morale and prevent sickness, said: “This event is for (SMEs), and if you are a mid-sized company and have a lot of people off you can substitute, but for smaller firms its important everyone can perform.”


Patrick Jager, an IT expert with Leipzig’s process improvement firm Solean, said: “MUT puts us in touch with others, every important company has a stand here.”

(Publicity generated by Dorcas Media)

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