Firm from Hamburg joins Germany's elite group of innovative companies/Award to be presented by Top 100 mentor Ranga Yogeshwar
Hamburg – The 23rd Top 100 awards for Germany's most innovative SMEs have been presented, and this year, eos.uptrade GmbH is joining this elite group. The Hamburg-based firm took part in a rigorous, scientific selection process that analysed innovation management and successful innovation. Ranga Yogeshwar, the competition mentor, presented the top innovators with their awards at the German SME Summit in Essen on 24 June.
One of the factors driving the success of eos.uptrade GmbH is its outstanding climate of innovation. The IT company, which was founded in 2000, specialises in mobile ticketing for local public transport and the tourism industry. eos.uptrade is currently the number one in Germany and has a three-year lead over its nearest competitor. "We give every idea a chance – even the crazy-sounding ones. In this compact market, these are sometimes the best ideas," explains Michael Gross who, along with Michael Kujas, is in charge of this growing company and its currently 64-strong workforce. The two managing directors look not only to their team but also to their customers for inspiration. Currently, 45 software developers are adapting existing products to reflect test results and new ideas or are working on new products, such as solutions for people buying tickets who do not want to, or cannot, pay for them online and therefore need to pay at a ticket machine.
"Three or four years ago, for example, we were the first company to combine mobile information and ticket reservations on a smartphone," says Michael Gross. The IT experts meet with customers, transport companies and organisations responsible for the transport network to carry out precise target-group analysis on ticket buyers and their buying patterns in order to continuously improve their products and simplify the functions. Customer feedback often leads to suggestions for innovations. At the same time, the Top 100 company's product managers regularly conduct tests with closed user groups. The testers also include long-standing customers who have strong preferences of their own. "In the tests with them, we use a prototype to get an initial picture of whether the development has appeal for their field of business," explains Michael Gross.
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 Administration 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). Media support for the company benchmarking competition is provided by manager magazin. Further information is available at www.top100-germany.com