OUR HISTORY

Since 1984

The “Organisationsforum Wirtschaftskongress” (OfW) was founded in 1984 to build a bridge between academic theory and business practice. Since then, an annually changing team of 30-40 students has organized an international business conference as its main product here in Cologne. The intention was to connect entrepreneurs, scientists and ambitious students through an intensive, intergenerational exchange.

Initially, the “German Business Conference” took place every two years with a focus on Germany, until it attracted more and more foreign participants and was renamed the World Business Dialogue in 1999. Since 2009, the conference is organized annually instead of every two years with participants from over 70 nations. 

At the end of 2019, the organization decided to realign itself and find a new approach of engaging and contributing to a better future. 

1984

Foundation

The student run “Organisationsforum Wirtschaftskongress” was founded in 1984 by three students of the University of Cologne as a non-profit organization.

1984

1987

First conference

The first “German Business Conference”, which focused on the topic “Space as a Market”, took place from March 10-11, 1987.

1987

1992

OSCAR GmbH

Out of our student run company, the young management consultancy OSCAR was founded, which is still part of our foundation association today.

1992

1995

Bill Gates

A highlight in the history of the “German Business Conference” was the participation of Microsoft founder Bill Gates in the 5th conference in 1995.

1995

1999

World Business Dialogue

The conference on “Rethinking Knowledge – Labour, Education and Business in the Knowledge Society”, held in 1999, was the first one to appear under its new name World Business Dialogue. Almost 70 nations were represented and set the benchmark for an international dialoge.

1999

2019

22nd World Business Dialogue

“Digital Zeitgeist – Time to Rethink Learning” was the motto of the last World Business Dialogue, which took place from February 18-22, 2019 at the University of Cologne.

2019

Our long-time Partner

In 35 years of organizing the world’s largest student-run business conference we worked together with many different companies, with some of them over many years. We are proud of our large network and the intensive collaboration regarding various formats and topics. 

Inspiring Discussions

Every conference had its own outstanding speaker lineup with representatives from different industries. In thrilling discussions and stimulating keynotes they gave us input to think about and incentives to shape the future. Topics that were discussed at our conferences are now more important than ever and we have already collected various solutions and ideas.