Holger Werner, Commerzbank

Holger Werner, Commerzbank

Commerzbank has developed the first digitalisation platform for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Called “#openspace”, and located in Berlin-Schöneberg, it offers long-term co-operation between SMEs, “innovation partners”, and start-ups with the objective of “tackling the challenges posed by the digital future together”.

Holger Werner, CEO and founder of #openspace, says “digitalisation dominates the media, sciences, and corporate world like no other topic” and #openspace means “digital transformation is expedited and accompanied in the long term thanks to customised programmes”.

Along with a six-week basic module named “#SenseOfUrgency”, #openspace offers various programmes to provide long-term support. The “#DigitalLab” module, for example, is geared towards supplementing an existing business model with digital products and processes. By contrast, in the “#DisruptiveLab”, an existing business model is adapted over three phases.

In addition to the offering for Germany’s SME sector, the bank says with the “#StartUpFactory” #openspace also provides premises and support for international start-ups aiming to establish a foothold on the German and European markets or to expand in the region.

Last year

While its interest in all things digital is strong, in 2016 Commerzbank firmed up plans to lay off nearly 5,000 people.

According to a letter by German labour union Verdi, the majority of these job cuts – around 3,000 – will be across the bank’s branch network at home in Germany.

Another 1,900+ jobs will be eliminated outside Germany and across Commerzbank’s subsidiaries, according to the letter seen by Bloomberg.