Training digital entrepreneurs for companies – joint venture “Unternehmer-Schmiede” founded by etventure and Kienbaum

21. March 2016

Together with Kienbaum, a HR and company consultant, etventure is founding the joint venture “Unternehmer-Schmiede.” This joint venture is forming a powerhouse for equipping managerial staff and specialists with entrepreneurial digital skills. It is envisaged that these digital entrepreneurs from the “Unternehmer-Schmiede” will help companies in the era of digitization.

Wanted: new skills

Many companies have now recognized the importance of digitization. Nevertheless, they have a problem when it comes to executing the process of digital transformation. One reason for this is that employees cling too much to the company’s existing structures and routines. Another reason is that the lack of managerial staff and specialists who have the experience and expertise that is necessary for digitization. This is confirmed by a recent study carried out by etventure in partnership with the market research institute GfK.

In order to execute the process of digitization, companies need a new kind of employee who has specific skills – they need digital entrepreneurs.  These digital entrepreneurs combine digital expertise and change management skills with an entrepreneurial mindset, a startup mentality and experience in the corporate world. Their other significant qualities include being 100% user-focused, thinking and testing in an agile manner, and having strong communication skills. This is a profile, however, that is almost non-existent on the labor market.

That’s where the “Unternehmer-Schmiede” comes into play. Instead of merely recruiting candidates, etventure works together with Kienbaum to train up its own digital entrepreneurs – another way in which etventure lives up to its reputation as a company builder. Even before the joint venture was founded, etventure had helped corporate clients such as Klöckner & Co and Wüstenrot & Württembergische to form digital units. Gisbert Rühl, CEO Klöckner & Co, also attests to this: “Without the expertise of the specialists recruited by etventure, we would be nowhere near as far along in the process of digitization as we are today.” With the “Unternehmer-Schmiede,” this approach is now being developed and expanded as an independent business model.

Recruitment, profile development and mentoring

With this approach, the joint venture combines recruiting candidates with developing their profiles in a structured way that is geared towards them becoming digital entrepreneurs. Among other things, this involves teaching innovation methods such as “design thinking” and “lean startup.” The candidates are prepared for the challenges of digitization in their relevant companies by undergoing real-life, completely individualized on-the-job training. They will then think and act in a more entrepreneurial manner so that, in their roles as managerial staff and specialists, they can independently lead and press ahead with digital projects. Even once the development program has ended, the digital entrepreneurs have access to mentors and contacts at the “Unternehmer-Schmiede.”

This means that “Unternehmer-Schmiede” is different to traditional recruitment services and headhunters in many ways because the focus of the model is on the sustainable and individualized further development of the employee, rather than simply on filling the position. This approach allows the direct integration of each company’s own requirements. This is also reflected in the joint venture’s payment model. Instead of the usual one-off payment made once the position has been filled, the “Unternehmer-Schmiede” payment system is staggered and directly related to commercial success.

On an interim basis, “Unternehmer-Schmiede” is being led by Philipp Depiereux, Founder and Managing Director of etventure, and Fabian Kienbaum, Managing Director of Kienbaum. You can read the full press release about the newly founded joint venture here.


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Doris Bärtle ist PR Managerin bei etventure. Zuvor arbeitete sie im Bereich Unternehmens- und Markenkommunikation und im Event Management.

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