As a total there are about 86,000 firms and traders with altogether 820,000 employees. In January 2003 the unemployment rate was at 9.6 %.
As a centre for further training and education (run by the three chambers of commerce and industry in the state of Schleswig-Holstein) the „Wirtschaftsakademie Schleswig-Holstein (WAK)" is a co-operating element of the economy and an integrated factor in a number of networks and the key partner in Schleswig-Holstein. The main regional focus for activities within the "ICTs for SMEs" project were the rural areas in Schleswig-Holstein. One member within these networks, the itai GmbH, plays an essential role in the project activities. The state government of Schleswig-Holstein and its administration is supporting the project and had a consulting function for the application procedure and the realisation.
The WAK was established and is being supported through regional chambers of commerce and industry as well as enterprises, in order to provide advanced training for managers and professionals and to educate junior managers. The WAK offers short, medium and long-term courses, seminars and workshops as well as on-the-job training and retraining programmes for all levels of experience.
A further formal partner is the Gesellschaft für Technologieförderung Itzehoe mbH, operator of IZET. IZET Innovationszentrum ltzehoe is a centre for technology transfer and for setting up new business in micro technologies.
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