Jena Business Development and the University of Jena present the i-work Business Award for the fourth time

(Jena, 3 December 2020) Open to the world, international and shaping genuine integration: the i-work Business Award is today being presented to TAF mobile GmbH in the category “SMEs – small and medium-sized companies” and Germany GmbH in the “Large company” category in recognition of their business performance. The award for exemplary intercultural openness in companies based in Jena and the region was presented by Jena’s Mayor Dr. Thomas Nitzsche and Dr. Claudia Hillinger, Head of the International Office at Friedrich Schiller University Jena, during an event live streamed from the University’s multi-media centre. For the fourth year now the competition has been organised by Jena Business Development (JenaWirtschaft) and Friedrich Schiller University Jena.

The competition’s sponsor, Heike Werner, Minister of Labour in the German Federal State of Thuringia and a member of the political party DIE LINKE, emphasised the purpose of the award in her words of welcome: “The theme of the prize is economic success through cultural diversity. In this context both companies have put into practice exemplary concepts and measures illustrating how the day-to-day work for people, both with and without a migration background, can be shaped over the long term with all parties working together.” The Minister emphasised how both companies – and all the eleven organisations in total who took part in the competition – made a convincing case in their entries of how considerable value is added through cultural diversity.

Here the jury, which was made up of international employees and representatives from business, the Federal State, the University and JenaWirtschaft, was particularly impressed with the strategic and far-sighted approach of the two companies to include the whole team in the arrival preparations but also in the way they worked together to shape implementation on site.

Jury-member Dr. Claudia Hillinger said that a total of nine companies and – for the first time this year – two research institutes took part in the competition and it was very difficult to make the decision. “All the companies and institutions in all sectors – not just those in IT – implemented an extensive portfolio of intercultural and integration measures for and with their employees.” She said that this was the reason why the jury held a third additional meeting this year to make the final decision about the two awards. Hillinger explained: “It was particularly those entrants who have already entered on a number of previous occasions where we saw across-the-board efforts to develop further. This impressed everyone on the jury.”

The software company TAF is delighted to receive the prize in the category “Small and medium-sized companies“. “Taking ‘International diversity as an engine for growth’ as our motto, we set ourselves the task in 2018 and have therefore been able to grow our team from 13 to 24 through targeted recruitment and hiring of international employees,” said Sandra Melle, authorised representative, Finance & Administration, at TAF.

“We see ourselves as the TAF family and want our new team members to feel at ease right from the start,” is how TAF’s Office Manager Sarah Nuschke explains the logical process and her motivation for looking after everything needed on site. “We provide support during the preparations in their home countries and also after they arrive here in Jena. With this in mind, since last year we have made particular progress in retaining the loyalty of employees. One factor is that we have held structured interviews before new recruits start work at the company and exit interviews when anybody leaves. We also focus more on involving the employees’ partners who relocate with them. We wanted to demonstrate this to the i-work jury and that is why we entered the competition again.”

Salesforce is the two-times winner of the prize in the “Large companies” category, having first won in 2017. International activities and the international origins of the team members are part of everyday work in the company. The advantages are obvious for site manager Björn Leonhardt: “Equal opportunities and a team that reflects the diversity in society are absolutely essential if we are to develop innovative products and give our international customers the best possible advice.” Leonhardt continued: “We repeatedly scrutinise the processes within the company to ensure that all employees have equal access. This includes training courses to minimise prejudice during recruitment as well as transparent progression structures and equal pay, irrespective of origin or gender. Engagement in society is also extremely important to us, because integration takes place locally.”

“Internationalism” is a topic that is part of the long-term agenda for business development too. Wilfried Röpke, CEO of JenaWirtschaft, lists various goals linked to the intercultural business award: “When we apply the results of our Jena2030 skills study we can confirm that it will still only be possible to supply the skills needed by local business by drawing on potential from abroad, which means people with a migration background. The Coronavirus pandemic will not change this. We must cooperate to make Jena an attractive and cosmopolitan place to work and promote this. Part of this is a genuinely welcoming culture in companies and institutions, regardless of the employees’ nationality,” said Röpke. “Our aim with the i-work Business Award is to illustrate how international the Jena region and its companies are today so that we can show the exemplary nature of the measures that already exist and how everyone can benefit from greater diversity in companies and in society.”
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The following companies and institutes participated in the contest:

Accenture GmbH

FBGS Technologies GmbH

Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering

Jenoptik AG

Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology


JustOn GmbH Germany GmbH

TAF mobile GmbH

TD Software GmbH



This is the fourth occasion on which the Wirtschaftsförderungsgesellschaft Jena mbH and Friedrich Schiller University Jena have presented the i-work Business Award – the intercultural business award for Jena and the region sponsored by Heike Werner, the Minister of Labour, Social Welfare, Health, Women and Family Affairs in the German Federal State of Thuringia. The competition is aimed at companies and institutions who have promoted intercultural openness for international skilled workers in a particularly exemplary way by applying innovative concepts and measures.

There are two categories – SMEs and large companies – to take account of the different structural, human and financial resources available to the participating companies. This initiative has evolved from the ESF-funded “HiTh highly qualified. International. Thuringia” project.

Press contact for questions:

Ramona Scheiding, Tel. 03641 – 87 300 36, Email:

About TAF: TAF mobile GmbH with its headquarters in Jena is a subsidiary of Vienna-based DIMOCO Europe, a FinTech payment institution licensed in all EU member states. The software company TAF carries out research into innovative ticketing solutions and develops, markets and operates mobile app and online sales systems as well as multimodal mobility platforms for companies in the field of local public transport. The systems overall cover the integration of individual customer requests including the latest payment methods. TAF has extensive experience in respect of applications and in-depth expert knowledge, thanks to a solid customer base and partnerships with mobile phone operators, research institutes, local public transport associations and companies in the same industry. The company has received many accolades in recognition of its innovations and is a member of the Mobile Cluster Mitteldeutschland and KONTIKI e.V. industry networks.

Press contact at TAF: Grit Klickermann, Marketing & Communications,
Telephone: +49 (0)3641 63 880-02, Email:

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Charlotte Newby

Head, Corporate Communications
DIMOCO Payments

Tel: +43 1 33 66 888-2059