10/01/2007, Düsseldorf / Germany


The Henkel Innovation Challenge – a new innovation competition for students


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Name Ernst Primosch
  Corporate Vice President Corporate Communications
Phone 0049-211-797-3533
Fax 0049-211-798-2484
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Name Wulf Klüppelholz
  Corporate Communications, Financial Communications
Phone 0049-211-797-1875
Fax 0049-211-798-9208
Email Send email

Name Heike Ambaum
  Corporate Communications, Human Resources PR
Phone 0049-211-797-2942
Fax 0049-211-798-9208
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How will we be living in 2050?

Coinciding with the start of the academic year, a new international student competition is being launched in six European countries: the ‘Henkel Innovation Challenge’. The search is on for innovative ideas relating to products and business concepts for the future in the field of laundry and home care. The competition is directed at students of all disciplines. Self-organized in teams of three, their remit is to get their creative ideas down on paper and submit them to Henkel. The company will then invite the teams with the most convincing concepts to the national finals to be held at the Henkel headquarters in Düsseldorf, Germany and the respective subsidiaries. Those adjudged to be the best will then go on to the international finals in Barcelona next April. In addition to an award ceremony, the winning team can also look forward to an exciting and stimulating trip to Istanbul. Every participant can expect to gain from the experience and particularly from the opportunity to forge invaluable contacts with a major and highly international company. “We regard the ‘Henkel Innovation Challenge’ as a unique chance for us and the participating students to get acquainted and enjoy the rewards of an intensive exchange of views,” explains jury member Fridtjof Helemann, Vice President Corporate Policies at Henkel.

For the first time ever, Henkel has launched an international innovation competition for students in the form of the ‘Henkel Innovation Challenge’. The theme is life in the year 2050: what ecological, social and economic conditions will characterize our everyday existence by then? And what will be the requirements derived from these situations for the products and business concepts of the future? The search is on for creative ideas involving Henkel’s Laundry & Home Care business. Henkel is asking all interested students to give their creativity free rein so that, in teams of three, they can develop appropriately innovative concepts. “The whole purpose is to encourage the students to push the envelope to the limits of their creativity. Henkel is deliberately not laying down any guidelines, especially because we don’t want to kill the fun element in the competition,” says jury member Ina Classen of Henkel Corporate Recruitment.

All the submissions will be assessed by a jury of experts, and the teams offering the best concepts will be invited to the national finals. There, the student teams will be provided with every opportunity for presenting their innovative concepts before a panel of top managers from Henkel. Then the national winners will be invited by the company to the international finals in Barcelona where they will be able to go head-to-head with their fellow students from the other countries. Fridtjof Helemann again: “Henkel is a global corporation and hence is looking for young talent throughout the world. We are launching this competition in Europe but intend to roll it out successively to other regions. This year, six European countries will be participating in the ‘Henkel Innovation Challenge’: Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain.”

The general level of competition for top talent is rising all the time, which is why Henkel is placing greater priority on forums facilitating direct and thorough interaction with young minds. This ‘Henkel Innovation Challenge’ offers the company the possibility of getting to know highly qualified and motivated young people from throughout Europe. Selected Henkel managers have been assigned the task of supporting and assisting the student groups as mentors, not only during the national finals but also in the preparatory phases and beyond. Henkel’s hope is that this will generate plenty of opportunity for the various individuals on both sides to get to know each other properly. And the students will also be making valuable contacts with a major and highly international company.

The submission deadline for the first national round is November 30, 2007.
For more information on the ‘Henkel Innovation Challenge’, go to http://www.henkelchallenge.com/.
And for more information on careers at Henkel, go to www.henkel.de/careers.