With more than 300 exhibitors and over 200.000 visitors from over 50 countries the »Expo Virtual Alemania Latinoamérica« is the largest cross-sector trade fair in Latin America. Organized by the German Chambers of Commerce in Latin America, this year, the Expo was held online for the first time! It offered various virtual workshops, business networking opportunities and exhibition stands in order to present products and services. Our colleagues Lena Kurtz and Karla Sosa from the Fraunhofer Academy together with partners from Fraunhofer ISE, IEE and IFAM were present at the Expo.
What motivated you to participate in the Expo?
Karla Sosa: We wanted to raise awareness about our international programs, particularly renewable energy and fiber-reinforced composites. Especially renewable energy is a hot topic at the moment and also highly relevant for the Latin American market. Since many of our programs are offered online in English and even some in Spanish, they can be accessed from anywhere in the world and are therefore a good fit for a Latin American target group. We also were very curious to see how such an international Expo would work online and I must say it was a great experience.
Why is the Latin American market so relevant for renewable energy?
Lena Kurtz: Huge areas within Latin America offer perfect conditions for solar and wind energy but often training possibilities are missing in the field. That’s why we invest in educational programs and also want to make them accessible to a wider, international audience. The visitors were enthusiastic about our online courses, for example our Online Master Programs Wind Energy Systems and Solar Energy Engineering!
How does an online trade fair work?
Karla Sosa: The Expo was held via an interactive online platform. Fraunhofer Academy had two stands in two different virtual halls. Our Fraunhofer experts even had the chance to hold two online expert workshops for hundreds of participants about our main topics at the trade fair: renewable energy and fiber-reinforced composites. Overall, we are joyful that the Fraunhofer Academy was given the opportunity to participate in the Expo!
Was there any difference to a “normal” trade fair?
Lena Kurtz: Yes, it was a little different. We had a short training to get to know the platform that was used for this trade fair. Yet communicating online via interactive platforms is part of a digitalized and modern world. For us, it was very exciting to communicate with our international visitors via chat, email or video conferences. Instantaneously, you were talking with potential customers and cooperation partners across the world. It was lovely to see that there was huge interest in our course offer!
Lena Barahona ist seit 2022 Stellevertretende Leiterin der Fraunhofer Academy. Außerdem ist sie für die Themenbereiche Didaktik und Qualitätsmanagement an der Fraunhofer Academy zuständig und leitet das Weiterbildungsprogramm „Certified Scientific Trainer*in“.
Frau Barahona studierte Pädagogik, Psychologie und Kommunikationswissenschaft an der LMU München und der Universidad Europea de Madrid. Vor Fraunhofer arbeitete sie knapp 10 Jahre am Klinikum der Universität München (LMU). Dort war sie für Koordination eines Weiterbildungsstudiengangs für den lateinamerikanischen Raum und für die stellvertretende Arbeitsgruppenleitung im Bereich Teaching verantwortlich. Auch leitete sie ein internationales Train-the-Trainer Programm.
Seit 2014 ist Frau Barahona außerdem als freie Trainerin und Coach tätig.