The “Bundesverband mittelständische Wirtschaft” (German Association of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises), short the BVMW, was founded in 1975. It is a politically independent association, which represents the interests of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) in politics, with administrative authorities, with trade unions and with multinational companies.
The BVMW represents more than 150,000 companies with over 4.3 million employees and supports them via its 200 regional offices in Germany and over 20 representations worldwide. The 3.3 million individual SME in Germany are the backbone and impulse of the economy. SME make up 99% of all businesses in Germany and create 70% of all jobs. New impulses are traditionally coming from SME with 75% of all patents and innovations developed by small and medium-sized companies.
An important part of the German education system is provided by SME as well, as they are more integrated into the communities and take actively part in their social surrounding by for example providing 80% of the job-training opportunities.
Many small and medium-sized companies have seen the opportunities of expanding their operations internationally. For many firms this has become the only way to stay competitive and increase their customer base.
The BVMW takes this trend serious and has opened over 24 permanent representative offices worldwide since 2003, with more to come every year. Attention was given especially to Eastern Europe, Middle East and Asia as regions with the most activities of SME.