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The Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum of the Steinbeis Innovation gGmbH belongs to the Steinbeis Foundation for Economic Promotion which was founded by the government of Baden-Württemberg in 1971 and has a foundation capital of 15 million euro. The Foundation runs approximately 600 so-called „Technology Transfer Centres“ mainly in Baden-Württemberg, but also in other regions in Germany and Europe. The Technology Transfer Centres are mostly attached to research organisations in order to guarantee close connection between R&D and industry. More than 4,000 researchers, consultants and engineers carry out more than 20,000 contracts per year to improve strategy, product and process development of companies.

Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum (SEZ) as part of the Steinbeis Innovation GmbH, which is an entity within the Steinbeis Foundation responsible for the support of European research projects and trans-national co-operation in Europe. It was founded in March 1990 and has been a member of the European network of Innovation Relay Centres (IRC) since 1995 and head of the IRC consortium responsible for Baden-Württemberg, Thuringia and North of Switzerland. Since 2008 SEZ is a member of the regional European Enterprise Network (EEN) consortia. SEZ is also official National Contact Point (NCP) for SMEs in the region of Baden Württemberg. In Germany a national agreement created a network of regional contact points for SME in order to allow an easier access to this service in their region.

The core activities of Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum are:

• to assist organisations to participate in European R&D projects,

 • to support the management of international research projects,

 • to give assistance in the exploitation of the research results,

 • to promote trans-national technology transfer,

 • to stimulate and support the innovation process in industrial companies.

SEZ has also a lot of experience in organising workshops, conferences and brokerage events for technology transfer as well as finding partners for RTD-proposals. Steinbeis-Europa-Zentrum was involved in more than 40 European projects in the last years, a number of them connected to the CRAFT / R4SME projects, thus ensuring a very good knowledge of SMEs in the state of Baden-Württemberg.