German-Australian Chamber offers practical ways to bring innovators together

Germany and Australia have strong ties in the manufacturing and renewables sector.

As the federal government announces its budget and manufacturing strategy, the German-Australian Chamber of Industry and Commerce (AHK Australien) translates collaborative opportunities into actionable items. Christoph von Spesshardt, executive director, German-Australian Chamber of Industry and Commerce, writes.

On September 17th, coinciding with the first meeting of the Chamber’s Innovation and Start-up Committee, the federal government announced its investment in new energy technologies. Just recently, Germany has signalled strong interest in hydrogen produced in Australia. Late September, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a $1.3 billion, five-year manufacturing strategy, ahead of the federal budget. This plan not only focusses on manufacturing capabilities but also on the commercialisation of ideas, helping to turn them into Australian exports.

We welcome this development for the Australian industry. Both announcements highlight the importance of bilateral cooperation. With strong ties to Germany in the manufacturing and renewables sector, our countries have a lot to offer each other.

German-Australina Chamber of Commerce executive director, Christoph von Spesshardt.

Key chamber initiatives in 2020:

  • The chamber introduces its Innovation and Start-up Committee, including key industry partners and universities
  • German-Australian virtual business delegations for the mining, renewables, and marine industry go ahead in October / November
  • Newly elected board, with Dr Jens Goennemann, Managing Director of the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) as chair
  • The Chamber submits feedback to “Australia’s Technology Investment Roadmap” of the Australian Government, aiming to strengthen the cooperation between Australia and Germany in this sector.

Innovation and Start-up Committee

The German-Australian Chamber supports our bilateral relationship by offering meaningful and practical ways for both countries to engage. Some of these ways include our recently launched Innovation and Start-up Committee, bringing together industry, start- and scale-ups, R&D institutes, and universities. Chair of the committee is Karen Zwissler, Government Affairs and Business Development at SAP. This initiative is also supported by bilateral institutions such as the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), resulting in a broad understanding of business opportunities.

“With a vast amount of industries and organisations in our membership base, finding new ways to bring innovators together is the next logical step,” said Dr Michael Zettinig, director of governmental affairs and communications at AHK Australien. “Collaborative opportunities abound, so the focus of our work is to translate this into actionable items.” 

The collaboration between both countries on various hydrogen projects received a lot of attention in recent weeks. Other areas of shared interest include our focus industries and specific events with partner organisations such as the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre, led by the German-Australian Chamber’s chairman of the board, Dr Jens Goennemann.


Apart from supporting German companies and subsidiaries in Australia, the German-Australian chamber also has a great interest in facilitating and establishing new relationships between both countries. One example is our delegations, which offer a unique opportunity for German companies to find business partners in Australia. Provided with market and feasibility studies by our consulting team, we then carefully plan these delegations with matchmaking being the goal. Even though COVID-19 has thrown a spanner in the works of face-to-face business travel, we nevertheless will be hosting three business delegations this year.

From mining over to a maritime delegation in November, all events present an opportunity to learn more about the respective industries in both countries. German companies showcase their innovative products and share their experience in the mining supplier sector, and Australian counterparts give insights into the Australian industry from a miner’s perspective.

During our mining conference, Australian mining experts and professionals give in-depth information about the trends and developments within the industry focusing on advanced mining technologies and automation in mining.

Given the manufacturing package mentioned earlier, now is a fantastic time to collaborate and exchange technologies. As a bilateral chamber, we believe that the German-Australian business community can significantly support Australia’s exciting development in these sectors.

About AHK Australien

The German-Australian Chamber of Industry and Commerce (AHK Australien) is the first point of contact for all bilateral business matters. With offices in Sydney and Melbourne, AHK Australien has been a partner for German companies and subsidiaries in Australia, as well as Australian companies, for over 40 years. The chamber is a member organisation for German and Australian companies. As part of a global AHK network, AHK Australien is also the official representation of German companies in Australia and cooperates with potential partners to develop market-entry strategies. AHKs are the key players of German foreign business development on behalf of the Federal Republic of Germany. The AHK Australien is supported in part by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy based on a decision of the German Bundestag.

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