The knowledge-based economy is characterized by a large share of knowledge-intensive activities and a broad base of highly qualified personnel. Knowledge-intensive services are hereby the central elements. Consulting and accountancy firms, advertising agencies, architecture, engineering or development offices support the manufacturing industry in many respects and make thus an important contribution to the value chain.
Most of the companies operating in the knowledge-based services sectors of Germany can be assigned to the group of small and medium-sized enterprises. A look at Baden-Wuerttemberg's corporate landscape reveals a similar structure. Nonetheless, some of the large service providers stand out in particular. The Ernst & Young GmbH, for example, has established its headquarters in Stuttgart and ranks third among Germany's biggest accountancy firms. As engineering services provider, the Bertrandt AG moreover supports companies from the automotive and aerospace sector around the world by carrying out development services. In addition, the DEKRA AG stands for innovative services relating to vehicle inspections, consulting, industrial inspection services, certification and qualification.
Besides, Baden-Wuerttemberg is one of the leading locations for the German services research. Apart from the Fraunhofer Institute of Labor Economics and Organization (IAO), the Centre for Research on Innovation and Services of the University of Hohenheim and the Karlsruhe Service Research Institute (KSRI), there is number of other research institutes operating in this field - such as the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI).
Over the past years, the sector of knowledge-intensive services has shown significant growth rates - a trend which is expected to continue also in the future, particularly in the field of business and innovative services. The new opportunities arising from an extended use of modern information and communication technologies and the widespread knowledge transfer resulting from the services research - notably in SMEs - are broadly recognized as playing an important role. Baden-Wuerttemberg offers great potential for an active involvement in these developments.