Southern SME Forum Highlights – 5 Takeaways from Nashville

A month following our stay in Music City and the feedback from our German Mittelstand – Southern SME Forum continues to come in.

In all, more than 150 German and American attendees took part in the all-day business conference in Nashville aimed at providing the correct guidance and resources needed to successfully strengthen German subsidiaries within the Southeastern U.S.

Informative workshops focusing on Effective Cloud Computing for SME and Benefits throughout the day, while engaging panel discussions on Supply Chain Management and Vocational Training rounded out the agenda.

Here are five takeaways from your Nashville correspondent.

1.     Communication across cultures is key

The need to add extra seats showed attendees had a strong interest in getting to know more about intercultural competence. The workshop, which was led by Vicki Flier Hudson and Todd Shinholster of Highroad Global Services, proved you can never know enough about how cultural differences (and similarities) can boost business productivity.


Intercultural Competence Workshop

2.     Vocational training continues to emerge

Addressed during the State of the Union Address and our German American Business Outlook, workforce development remains a constant theme as it found its way to Nashville. With GACC South Vice President Stefanie Jehlitschka moderating the vocational panel, experts from BLG Logistics, Inc., Mercedes-Benz U.S. International, Inc., Pfaff Molds LP, and WIKA Instrument Corp. discussed the how the competitiveness of the U.S. could be improved by investing in training.

3.     German business thrives in the Southeast

From the coasts of the Carolinas to the plains of Texas, the German Mittelstand is alive and well in the Southeast. Consistently recognized for its low taxes, business-friendly business climate, infrastructure, and access to markets and customers our region serves as a second home for about 1,500 German businesses.

V. Alexander & Co., Inc. exhibitor booth

V. Alexander & Co., Inc. exhibitor booth

4.     We could not have done it alone

Our conference would not have been a success without the generous support we received from our sponsors. We would like to thank all of them for their assistance in raising awareness within the German-American business community about the prevalent issues many businesses face and how to solve them.

5.     Nashville offers an unforgettable experience

One step out of the car and it was clear to see why Nashville is appropriately named Music City. Ambient and lively, the home of this year’s Southern SME Forum provided a picturesque backdrop as the city’s skyline reflected beautifully off the Cumberland River. Business-wise, our stay at the Hutton Hotel along with the evening reception that followed at the Bridge Building gave us an elegant and professional touch to the event.

The GACC South Board of Directors with Nashville skyline in the background

The GACC South Board of Directors with Nashville skyline in the background

Relive Nashville with our photo gallery here.


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