Kraft. Das Murtal

Topic area
Basic services, Leader, municipalities

Disaggregation level
Education & lifelong learning
Municipal development
Site development

Project region

LE– Programming Period
LE 07–13

Project period

LE 07-13 information

Themenbereich (Untergliederung): Zukunft Land (Bildung, Gemeindeentwicklung, Kultur, Standortentwicklung)
Maßnahme: M999

Short description

“Kraft. Das Murtal” strengthens the regional identity and forms an attractive economic and regional sphere. The actors undertake among other things corporate social responsibility in and for the region. They create a worth living future for our young people. Independence, self-reliance and future orientation are the fundamental guidelines for daily activities.
“Kraft. Das Murtal” has become established as an interface between companies, public institutions, administration & politics and accordingly as contact name and engine for relevant regional development processes in the region of Upper Styria West.

Point of departure

The region of Upper Styria West faces central challenges regarding the demographic change. By the year 2031, the largest decrease in population among all Austrian regions is expected in our region (namely minus 15.3%). The situation is still exacerbated by the increasing population ageing.

The initiative Kraft. Das Murtal supports the regional objective that employees decide for staying in the region respectively moving to the region due to a high quality of life and good working conditions. “Kraft. Das Murtal” is proud of its enterprisers respectively employers in the region who take over common responsibility for sustainable regional development. Thereby, the Upper Styria West´s technology area and economic area are strengthened.

Targets and target groups

There are 5 priority programs with 12 sub-projects which have been set up to achieve these objectives:

1. The human factor: The human factor lies at the very heart of the project – the only way to counter negative demographic developments and enable economic growth is to provide people in the region with perspectives for the future.
Sub projects: Attractive employers, Regional apprenticeship strategy, Regional training schemes for the manufacturing and services sectors, (Playful) work discovery
2. Redefining the region´s image:
The region needs a new and forward-looking
image in order to exploit the opportunities
and strengths of its manufacturing and
services sectors.
Sub-projects: Communications strategy, Image analysis, Open Day
3. Business integration: The aim here is to intensify the links between manufacturing industry and SMEs in the commercial, service and R&D sectors in order to create tangible benefits across the whole of the regional economy.
Sub-projects: Regional development plan for the manufacturing & business location, Regional networks of excellence/cooperation, Regional network flows
4. Sustainability: The development of a healthy economy over the long term requires local businesses to assume pro-active and visible responsibility for the region.
Sub-project: Businesses assume regional responsibility
5. Industrial/competence tourism: The productive interplay between tourism service providers and the requirements of businesses in the region will be strengthened to the mutual advantage of both parties. Sub-project: Industrial and competence tourism

Project implementation and measures

What we have achieved in our priority programs so far:
1. The human factor: Our target groups –
children/pupils/youth (in different age categories), parents/teachers/students – were addressed directly by means of our successful formats/sub-projects. We have opened new perspectives for young people from the region by implementing measures like “Kraft-internship”. Based on the results of a broad employee survey, measures toward making the companies even more attractive were taken (e.g. broadening of childcare provision). The “Kraft-card” offers all employees of Kraft-partner companies benefits at many regional partners and contributes at the same time to the regional value added.

2. Redefining the region´s image: “Kraft. Das Murtal” has already earned a high level of awareness. This was undergirded by the results of the image analysis. The presence of “Kraft. Das Murtal” on its own website and on facebook as well as the Kraft-newsletter for employees were also very promotional. “Kraft. Das Murtal” has also gained adequate attention in the (regional) media due to numerous reports. Furthermore, huge Kraft-logos and Kraft-flags which you can find at Kraft-companies as well as Kraft-car stickers have had a supportive effect. All Kraft-events (e.g. Open Day) attract many participants and visitors every year.

3. Business integration: “Kraft. Das Murtal” as a business initiative for strengthening the region has become established as a flagship-example throughout Austria. The enthusiasm and drive of the region becomes evident when you consider the short but highly successful history of the initiative: the project was launched in 2008 with the involvement of just 10 companies. Since then the number of partners has increased steadily – currently over 60 companies had joined the initiative and other businesses continue to sign up on a regular basis. This network collaborates with regional and institutional partners, schools, and municipalities in order to further develop the region. Within the frame of particular sub-projects we have highlighted the role of the individual Kraft-companies. We also contribute to a further enhancement of the intra-regional value added by means of establishing new regional supplying integration. The cooperation among Kraft-companies has extended to the group of purchasers.

4. Sustainability: Joint Kraft-CSR-measures were developed and implemented. A joint Kraft- sustainability report as an effective communication tool was published. Individual companies have decided the realisation of a 1 MW photovoltaic plant. There was also a main campaign concerning addiction prevention. “Kraft. Das Murtal” has become an indispensable active partner in the regional dialogue

5. Industrial/competence tourism: The cross-cutting issue industrial tourism draws on the areas of tension (industrial area – living space) and brings the demands of the companies into accordance with tourism offers. The companies respectively their customers and business partners trigger considerable streams of visitors. To provide an optimal touristic framework programme for companies in the future, a basis therefor was created in several working meetings with regional tourism representatives. In the future, distinct “packages for business clients” will be available on an online-platform at any time. Moreover, some Kraft-companies have already discovered the active industrial tourism for themselves and open their doors periodically for interested visitors and vacationers within the frame of the initiative “economic world of experience”.

Results and effects

“Kraft. Das Murtal” is an initiative launched by the manufacturing industry in the region encompassing the districts Murtal and Murau. This initiative comprises a broad cross-section of all sectors of industry and companies of different sizes, including steel processing, engineering, wood processing, suppliers, construction companies or various commodities, consumer goods and services. Over 60 leading companies and partner organisations have joined forces to strengthen this important business location and to create a remarkable network with a record of success throughout the world.
The project partners have decided on a proactive presence in terms of a cross-company implementation strategy. In this sense, the following objectives were defined:
• Developing/creating a forward-looking image of the manufacturing industry in the region
• Highlighting and further developing the attractiveness of regional employers
• Reinforcing the network idea: Establishing the inter-industrial relations (all sectors of manufacturing industries and services of different sizes) in the region as competitive factor
• Strengthening the regional responsibility of manufacturing and service industries
• Developing industrial tourism for a successful positioning on the tourism market


A central cognition of the project is the fact that companies are also increasingly responsible for the regional development in future. In case of competition between regions, this comes even more true for those regions which are faced with preconditions similar to Upper Styria West (demographic change, movement of labour, overaging, “old” image etc.). Issues of regional development are always issues of business development. Thus, they cannot be discussed decoupled.

Projects of this scale depend on the commitment of every single project partner. Due to the strong level of individual commitment and involvement of the participating partners from the outset (sub-project godfathers from the group of project partners are advancing the implementation of particular sub-projects, high participation degree of individual project partners by implementing sub-projects etc.), the commitment is promoted appropriately.

One of the central promoting factors for the project is the fact that the initiative for this project originates from the companies themselves. Furthermore, the diversified partner structure and coordinated approach with regional actors and representation of interests are further promoting factors.

This project fosters the communication and cooperation not only between the companies, but also between the companies and the involved regional actors and representations of interests. The business integration constitutes a central engine for the interweaving in the region.