Bremen – The 23rd Top 100 awards for Germany's most innovative SMEs are about to be presented, and this year, the BEGO Group is joining this elite group. The Bremen-based firm took part in a rigorous, scientific selection process that analysed innovation management and successful innovation. Ranga Yogeshwar, the competition mentor, will present the top innovators with their awards at the German SME Summit in Essen on 24 June.
BEGO secured its place among Germany's top innovators in 2016 thanks in particular to its outstanding innovations marketing. The Bremen-based specialist in dental prosthetics and implantology invites its key customers to formulate their individual requirements for new developments at an early stage. "Feedback from the market during all phases of a project is of huge importance to our innovation processes," affirmed managing partner Christoph Weiss.
The example of a 3D printer developed by BEGO in 2015 shows just how important this approach is to the innovative success of this family-owned business founded in 1890. The printer now enables dental laboratories to cut out a number of time and cost-intensive tasks that previously had to be carried out manually, and allows rapid alternation between different materials for the manufacture of different products. In the test phase beforehand, selected customers were given the opportunity to subject prototypes of the new printer to a practical test and to define special requirements for the series product. "We were able to draw on this valuable expertise throughout the process," commented Weiss.
In the past, the company's workforce of some 450 employees has contributed at least 250 suggestions for improvements. This input is another reason why BEGO has six German and 29 international patents and sees itself as an innovation driver within the dental sector. Further momentum is generated by the firm's international focus, with additional locations in countries including Turkey, Spain, Canada, France, and the US.
This year, more than 4,000 companies registered an interest in taking part in the Top 100 competition, with 366 of them applying for the qualification round and 284 getting through to the finals. Ultimately, 238 made it into the Top 100 (maximum of one hundred in each of the three size categories). Once more, the companies were evaluated by Nikolaus Franke, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, and his team. They examined more than 100 parameters in the following five assessment categories: 'Innovation-friendly Senior Management', 'Climate of Innovation', 'Innovative Processes and Organisation', 'Innovations Marketing' and 'Successful Innovations'.
The Top 100 are among the pacesetters in their sectors. Statistics reveal that the evaluation process included 97 German market leaders and 32 global market leaders. On average, they generated 40 per cent of their recent revenue from innovations and product improvements, which they brought to the market before their competitors. Their revenue growth rate was 28 percentage points higher than the average for their industries. In the last three years, these SMEs have together applied for a total of 2,292 German and international patents. This ability to innovate also pays dividends in terms of jobs, with the Top 100 planning to take on around 9,500 new employees in the next three years.
The Top 100's mentor, science journalist and television presenter Ranga Yogeshwar, is impressed by the quality of the companies and hopes they will become role models. 'The way in which the Top 100 companies generate new ideas and develop groundbreaking products and services based on them is remarkable in the truest sense of the word. I am delighted that the award highlights these qualities. I hope their success will encourage others to follow in their footsteps, because this culture of innovation is going to become increasingly important for all companies."
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. This project has been coordinated by Professor Nikolaus Franke from the Institute of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Vienna University of Economics and Business since 2002. The Top 100 is mentored by science journalist and television presenter 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). manager magazin provides media support for the company benchmarking competition. Further information is available at www.top100.de.