he brightest innovators among Germany’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will be recognised for their achievements at the 27th TOP 100 awards. From 19 June, the award-winners will be entitled to call themselves a TOP 100 company. The competition’s mentor, science journalist Ranga Yogeshwar, has been impressed by the innovative strength of all the entrants, who proved their innovative capability in an independent scientific analysis.
A total of 364 companies applied to take part in the TOP 100 competition, and 257 were successful across the three size categories (no more than 100 per size category). The companies that managed to win over innovation researcher Professor Nikolaus Franke and his team with their pitches will receive the coveted award. “The TOP 100 winners have produced some remarkable innovations,” says Franke, the scientific coordinator of the competition, noting that the winners are all companies that maintain a firm focus on their ability to innovate. “Their success demonstrates that fostering a healthy climate of innovation and implementing structures and methods that are geared to innovation will generate positive results,” explains Franke.
The TOP 100 applicants were assessed on the basis of a catalogue of around 120 criteria. These included explaining how innovation processes are organised in their company, how they create a working environment that enables their employees to be creative, and what innovation strategies they pursue (see www.top100-germany.com for further information). To ensure a level playing field for all companies, awards are granted in three different size categories: up to 50 employees, 51 to 200 employees, and over 200 employees.
The competition’s mentor, science journalist Ranga Yogeshwar, highlights the achievements of the TOP 100 prize winners. “The ingenuity of these SMEs is a welcome change from the quest for shareholder value and the platform economy where workers are often exploited and the focus is primarily on gathering customer data.” The innovations of the TOP 100 winners, on the other hand, convey a sense of community spirit. “These SMEs have their eyes on securing a sustainable future for their business. Their approach to progress is not driven by short-term profits but rather is aimed at protecting the continued viability of their business,” says Yogeshwar.
Some of the key figures used in the TOP 100 analysis show that innovations play a crucial part in the strong performance of these businesses. The winning companies’ revenue growth is 22.7 percentage points above the industry average. They generate 36.8 per cent of their revenue from new products or innovative enhancements brought to market in the previous three years. Between 2016 and 2018, the 257 TOP 100 winners applied for a total of 4,584 patents.
The TOP 100 competition Since 1993, compamedia has been awarding the TOP 100 seal of approval to SMEs with a particular ability to innovate and above-average success rates for innovations. Professor Nikolaus Franke has coordinated the project since 2002, and is the founder and director of the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Vienna University of Economics and Business. He is one of the world’s leading innovation researchers and has won 25 science awards and published over 200 articles. The TOP 100 is mentored by science journalist Ranga Yogeshwar and organised in partnership with the Fraunhofer Society for the Promotion of Applied Research and the German Association for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses (BVMW).
The privately held, family-owned company founded in 1988 and established as FREQCON GmbH in 2005, is a pioneer of modern converter technology, introducing full-scale power converters for wind turbines to the market in the early 1990s.
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