About the competition:
Innovation researcher Professor Nikolaus Franke and his team from the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Vienna University of Economics and Business examined 414 applications on behalf of compamedia. 305 companies made it to the final round. “I’ve been the scientific director of the Top 100 for 14 years, and every year I’m amazed by the level of innovation on display,” says Franke, who is also a visiting professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He believes these companies are well equipped to face the future: “The Top 100 are a good example of how companies can use innovation to gain a competitive advantage – not just for today, but also with a view to their future market position.”
Statistics reveal the special status of the top innovators: this year, they include 101 German market leaders and 26 global market leaders. In the last three years, these SMEs have together applied for a total of 1,226 German and international patents. Their revenue growth over the previous five years was 20 percentage points higher than the average for their industries. The proportion of their revenue attributable to innovative improvements and products new to the market was 38 percent. And their strong position is also driving employment, as they are expected to create around 9,500 new jobs by 2018.
The road to success is not always an easy one, as competition mentor Ranga Yogeshwar confirms: “Successful innovators often encounter resistance: they change processes, break the rules of their sector and suffer setbacks – yet they still dare to try something new. They pursue their goals, driven by the belief that they are doing things better. That is what sets them apart.”