SME 4.0 Competence Centre Communication: Corporate Communication

The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) provides targeted support for small and medium-sized enterprises in implementing the digital transformation and creates good
framework conditions to strengthen their competitiveness and innovative strength with the funding priority Mittelstand-Digital. Regional and thematic SME 4.0 competence centres are located throughout Germany to assist small and medium-sized enterprises with their digitalisation issues.

SMEs often find it difficult to digitise and need digitisation advice on communication and leadership skills.

to the project website Mittelstand 4.0 Competence Centre Communication: Corporate Communication


Project information

  • Improve digital maturity in terms of communication, marketing, leadership and collaboration.
  • Raising awareness of SMEs
  • Finding possible approaches
  • Exchange of experience
  • Direct support in decision-making
  • Empowering other competence centres

Transfer measures for SMEs

  • Differentiated transfer offers including:
  • Orientation (basic information, best practice etc.)
  • Workshops, presentations
  • Community events (e.g. bar camps)
  • Consultation hours
  • Digital learning opportunities
  • Support for example projects
  • Extensive editorial support (online magazine, newsletter, social media)

Accompanying research

  • Further development of conceptual models
  • Maturity levels related to communication
  • Case study research

Link to teaching

  • Supervision of final theses
  • Involvement in three teaching projects in the online communication degree programme

Transfer measures for multipliers

  • Train-the-trainer: workshops, sparring
  • Transfer material & networking
  • Improved understanding in project and teaching for digital strategy development; enabling
    informal lifelong learning for SMEs.
  • In 2019, a workshop series on online communication for SMEs was successfully conducted. Building on this, other topics such as design thinking, conceptual technology, corporate
    culture, etc. were developed. In the Corona phase, the entire offer was digitalised, including collaboration workshops and consultations.
  • Strengthening the Third Mission, lighthouse project on digitalisation
  • Improving teaching quality, especially B.Sc. Online Communication.
  • The Content StrategyCamp has created a community of over 200 female practitioners.
  • Transfer of results: Findings are regularly published in the Mittelstand-Digital network and
    discussed with partners. Furthermore, all topics are published on the KompZ website in an SME-friendly way.
  • 2 scientific publications
  • 5 bachelor theses
  • 86 events for SMEs
  • 12 events for multipliers
  • 3 networking events
  • 42 practical articles on website
  • 50 Mention in the press
  • 3 implementation projects
  • 22 consultation days
  • Total of approx. 4,000 people reached directly

Status: completed

Project management: Prof. Dr. Pia Sue Helferich and Prof. Dr. Thomas Pleil

Participants at the h_da: Prof. Dr. Pia Sue Helferich, Prof. Dr. Thomas Pleil and 8 research

Funded by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)

Project partners: Business School Berlin, FTK Dortmund

Further partners:

  • 26 other KompZ
  • 46 business development agencies, IHK partners and regional partners
  • Associations

Project information

Duration 2018 - 2021

A cooperation with the Business School Berlin and the Research Institute for Telecommunications and Cooperation, Dortmund
Direction at the h_da: Prof. Dr. Pia Sue Helferich and Prof. Dr. Thomas Pleil