March 28th 2023

Entrepreneurship & Innovation in Europe - How do we stay competitive?

Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the MANN+HUMMEL Group Thomas Fischer talks about innovation in Europe, education and fearless transformation.


Thomas Fischer, Chairman of the Supervisory Board, MANN+HUMMEL Group, Ludwigsburg/Germany



As part of the Distinguished Guest Lecture Series, the Entrepreneurial School® recently had the honor of hosting a "Tyrolean Industry Talk" in partnership with the Federation of Tyrolean Industries at MCI. The new Managing Director of IV Tirol Michael Mairhofer and MCI Rector Andreas Altmann welcomed the large audience on-campus and online, before Thomas Fischer dived into the evening's topic "Entrepreneurship & Innovation in Europe - How do we stay competitive?"

"Looking at Europe as a political social system, I would give up hope for innovation," says Thomas Fischer to open his talk at the podium. He does not mean to be pessimistic about Europe, but about the framework conditions that are holding back innovation in Europe. "We need more freedom. We have good administrations that get things done if you let them. Brussels should stay away from mapping out the path, focus on the political work and provide a good bureaucracy. Europe needs to lead politically without getting caught up in trivialities."

In addition, more money needs to go into education, research and digital infrastructure to drive innovation and, in particular, to counteract the shortage of specialists. Companies and universities should cooperate even more closely, so students can gain practical knowledge and work on projects. Young people should be given the opportunity to carry out projects independently and learn about technology from an early age.

Courage to transform
In order to compete, a company has to transform itself and continuously develop its processes. MANN+HUMMEL, for example, is constantly in transformation. After all, it started as a textile company and has developed into one of the world's leading filter manufacturers in the automobile sector.

However, what is standing in the way of innovation in Europe? Asia and America are far ahead of Europe, he says, although European companies have a clear lead in some technical fields, such as mechanical engineering, chemistry or medical technology. "In America, people are more fearless and faster. In Germany, we tend to wait and check the rules and laws first."

That's why Thomas Fischer advises young people to be brave, fearless, fast and honest, "Dare to be an entrepreneur yourself! Here at the Entrepreneurial School®, you have the chance to do so. If you act entrepreneurial, Europe will have a chance for innovation."