04/26/2010, Amsterdam / Netherlands


International final of the Henkel Innovation Challenge


German students take first place

Eleven teams, one objective: to win the Henkel Innovation Challenge. At the international final of Henkel’s student competition in Amsterdam (Netherlands), exceptionally well prepared teams presented their creative ideas for the year 2050 – leaving the company’s top managers on the jury no easy task in selecting the winners.

Clean less and enjoy the time gained: that is the vision of the team that ultimately came out on top in the Henkel Innovation Challenge. It was the students from Germany who, with their idea for an innovative cleaning product, most impressed the jury judging the international final. “The close contact we enjoyed with the company’s top managers was for us the highlight of the competition,” affirmed Matthias Mittelsten Scheid and Tim Brüggemann from the winning German team. “Although the Henkel Innovation Challenge was a tough assignment, we also saw it as an opportunity to develop our creativity, test our uni-gained knowledge and forge international ties.”

The competition provides the company with an excellent opportunity to get to know creative young minds at an early stage and to inspire them to perhaps join Henkel. “At Henkel we place great importance on talent management. Hence the teams were supported by mentors from our ranks throughout the competition, enabling them to receive valuable feedback,” explains Jessica Thiel, Corporate Director Human Resources at Henkel. Katrin Klein, Employer Branding Manager, adds: “In some cases they were together with their mentors until deep into the night, reviewing and revising their projects. But it was well worth it in the end, with all the teams putting on presentations of a very high standard!"

The Henkel Innovation Challenge is an international ideas competition for students. Specifically, their challenge is to produce a creative concept for a Henkel brand attributable to the company’s Laundry & Home Care or Cosmetic/Toiletries business sector in the year 2050. Eleven of the twelve participating teams from throughout Europe had taken the challenge to make the trip to the Dutch capital for the final, despite the presence of the cloud of volcanic ash in the skies. Once arrived, they set about presenting their creative ideas to a jury comprised of Henkel managers. And now the lucky winners are thrilled at the prospect of their prize:  a language-learning holiday with the choice of Australia, Japan or Mexico as their host country. Henkel is also inviting the three best teams – Germany, Austria and Poland – to come to its headquarters in Düsseldorf (Germany) for a personal meeting with CEO Kasper Rorsted.

This was the Challenge’s third successful year, this time offering an open invitation to participate to students from twelve European countries: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, Spain and Turkey. The promotion campaign launched at the start of the competition in September 2009 brought the company into contact with several thousand students across Europe, with ideas being submitted by some 600 teams.

The competition could be followed interactively both on Facebook (www.facebook.com/henkelchallenge) and on Twitter (www.twitter.com/henkelchallenge).

Photo material available on the web at:  http://www.henkel.com/press. There you will also find a press dossier with additional detailed information and photos covering all aspects of the competition.

Further information covering recruitment and careers at Henkel can also be found at www.henkel.com/careers.

Henkel AG & Co. KGaA