Walldorf, 6 December 2017 – Stefan Dürr, main shareholder and Managing Director of Ekosem-Agrar GmbH, the German holding company of Russian milk producer Ekoniva Group, yesterday received the first “SME Award of the German-Russian Economic Association” (“Mittelstandspreis des Deutsch-Russischen Wirtschaftsbunds”). The award, which honours special entrepreneurial achievements in bilateral trade, was presented to Stefan Dürr on the occasion of the 3rd German-Russian SME Conference in Hamburg.
In his laudatory speech, Peter Harry Carstensen, former Prime Minister of SchleswigHolstein, particularly highlighted Stefan Dürr’s achievements in improving the relationships between the two countries: “The ‘German-Russian Agricultural Policy Dialogue” initiated by Stefan Dürr in the 1990s is today still an official project of the Federal Agricultural Ministry and has become an indispensable platform for the exchange and the cooperation between the two countries in the agricultural sector. Stefan Dürr has always been committed to fostering the understanding between our two countries. His commitment goes far beyond the exchange in associations and between political committees.”
Besides his political activities, Stefan Dürr plays an important social role in Russia’s rural areas. Over the past 25 years, his strongly growing Ekoniva Group has created a total of 5,500 jobs in Russia. Moreover, he has introduced special training programmes to offer many young employees in the first years of their professional lives the opportunity to assume responsibility in their jobs and to contribute to the joint success by showing great commitment and motivation. Meanwhile, a daily milk output of roughly 900 tons and 248,000 hectares of agricultural land make the Ekoniva Group the largest milk producer in Russia and Europe.
Peter Harry Carstensen presented the award together with Dr. Thomas Overbeck, President of the German-Russian Economic Association. “Stefan Dürr perfectly embodies both sides of what Russia and Germany stand for. He is an entrepreneur with organisational talent, strategic action and social responsibility, who not only sees Russia as a country but also understands the people and their culture. He has the heart and the mind to create something great, which makes him the ideal first award-winner and a role model for all who will follow,” said Thomas Overbeck.
Stefan Dürr: “There are three aspects which I consider important in the relationship between Germany and Russia. First, it is important to really understand the Russian soul and history before making a judgement on Russia or participating in a discourse about the country. Second, as entrepreneurs we should see it as our duty to take an active role in policymaking. By that I mean not only those areas and topics that directly affect our companies but we must also think beyond, as we are responsible not only for our companies but also for our employees and their families. The third important aspect is the mutual exchange between our countries in science and culture, between young people and students, and especially in the economic sphere. The German-Russian Economic Association is doing an important job here and I regard this award as an encouragement to continue my efforts.”
The German-Russian Economic Association had invited German and Russian SMEs to yesterday’s event, which was attended by a total of 200 participants and 15 speakers as well as economic and political figures from the Russian Federation.