sequaForum 2021 A02: 30 years of sequa

Between the private sector and the state - 30 years of sequa as a success story

Three chancellors and four development ministers suggest that 30 years is a short time. But since its foundation, sequa has
achieved more in international cooperation than many people thought it would than some people gave it credit for at the beginning.



The 1990s were a period of great upheavals. The Soviet Union dissolved, the states of Central and Eastern Europe set out on  their way towards the European Union, and market economy and democracy seemed to be taking hold. International development cooperation was not unaffected by this: Additional tasks in new regions were added and cooperation with the private sector was recognised as a new, important success factor. sequa took the first steps in these turbulent times and had orientate itself in many ways as a new organisation founded out of the private sector and establish itself. Among other things our contacts in the donor organisations, we had to make a name for ourselves.

sequa gGmbH was founded on 23 September 1991 by resolution of the shareholders DIHT (today: DIHK) and ZDH, later joined by the BDA (1994), the BDI (2006) and GIZ (2010). In the ongoing learning and process between 'private' and 'state,
both sides have learned over the past three decades,overcoming fundamental hurdles and the paths on which the cooperation works well have steadily developed into resilient paths.

sequa's first project was the Chamber and partnership (KVP) of the Kiel Chamber with the Gdansk Chamber of Commerce.
The model has proven its worth. To date the BMZ programmes KVP, BBP and PartnerAfrica programmes, over 300 partnerships between foreign and German chambers and associations in 80 countries. A unique network! Other donors joined in, 1995 our first GIZ-financed project, we have been working for the EU since 1997. And with each new donor, we have learned the hard way. It is unforgettable that for many years EU applications were only formally valid with a signature
in royal blue ink.

Over the years, our donors entrusted with larger and larger projects. 2006 our largest project had a volume of 3 million euros, today we can also optimally 30 million euros in the best possible way. In 1992 two selected journeymen a stay abroad in France, and today we run a project TAMEB II, we are guiding more than 3,200 Syrian refugees in Turkey to obtain vocational
qualifications. From the very beginning we have been involved with capacity building for chambers and associations and in vocational training. Our far-sighted founding fathers also included trade promotion as a field of actionin our statutes. In 2012 we broke new ground and, together with the BGA, we set up the Import Promotion Desk,which has since assumed a leading
role in the European import promotion network TRIC.

Today sequa has 100 employees and our  turnover will soon exceed the 50 million mark. Our structures and processes have become more professional and digitalised: Brochures became the website, fax, telex and letter became e-mail, WhatsApp and Zoom.

What has remained: International cooperation is in our DNA, the affiliation to the private sector and entrepreneurship as well. We perceive standstill as a step backwards and fast,decisions, actions and implementation as 'sequa and implementation as 'sequa-like'. The fact that partners also see it that way (see following pages), fills us with pride and and motivates us for the next 30 years.

Gebhard Weiss
Managing Director

sequaForum 2021 A02: PDF-Download (only in German)