Ferdinand von Steinbeis (1807–1893) is the eponym of the Steinbeis Foundation. He was appointed in 1848 by the King of Wuerttemberg Wilhelm I in the newly created “Central Department for Commerce and Trade” in Stuttgart and later became the president of this central department. Here, Steinbeis acquired the greatest merits in the promotion of the young industry and as a state economic promoter in the Kingdom of Wuerttemberg. Posthumously, Steinbeis is considered the “father” of industrial education in Wuerttemberg. He founded vocational schools throughout the entire state. Steinbeis always advocated dual-sided education. Only through the connection of theoretical knowledge and practical ability did he see the educational objective for qualified industrial workers.
In 1971, the foundation for economic promotion, named after Ferdinand Steinbeis, was established. Through the initiative of the former prime minister of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Lothar Späth, the duties of this foundation and the duties of the government representatives for technology transfer were compiled in 1982. The Steinbeis Foundation, with its more than 600 transfer centres, works in the private sector. It transfers research findings into competitive products, procedures and processes. In doing so, it focuses on the specific demands of the market. The Steinbeis Foundation works in accordance with the following principles:
From 1982 to 2004, the Steinbeis Foundation was managed by government representative Professor Dr. Dr. h.c.mult. Johann Löhn. During this time, the number of Steinbeis transfer centres was expanded from the original 16, which were limited to the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, to about 600 facilities throughout Germany and indeed Europe. Since 1st April 2004, Professor Dr. Trasch has been the new chairperson of the Steinbeis Foundation.