hawo secures second place in the Top 100


For more than 20 years, the Top 100 award has signified innovative ability, thirst for knowledge and team spirit. On 27 June mentor Ranga Yogeshwar congratulated all winners and presented the awards at the German SME Summit in Essen.

compamedia, the initiator of the Top 100 project, expected more than 1.000 guests to attend the ceremony. hawo GmbH from Obrigheim is among the top innovators for the fourth time and came second in the category for companies with 51 to 250 employees.

A comprehensive system of monitoring contributed to hawo GmbH's excellent ranking in the Innovative Processes and Organisation category of the Top 100 competition. The world's leading manufacturer of specialist packaging systems for medical technology was also well placed in the other categories that were evaluated, securing second place in the category for companies with 51 to 250 employees. Every day, CEO Christian Wolf considers questions such as what the situation in the international markets will be in five years' time, which innovations could be protected by patents, and the extent to which new norms and policies will lead to changes in the law. From its base in Obrigheim, Baden-Württemberg, the company also operates in the emerging markets, such as east and west Africa where it has attended trade fairs.

Innovation processes at hawo are also extremely straightforward in terms of gathering and evaluating ideas, many of which are submitted by its workforce of around 70. “Particular attention should be paid to suggestions that may not initially seem to be a good fit,” stressed president and CEO Hans Wolf. “There might be something about them that the market needs, if not today, then in five years' time.” And 80 per cent of the suggestions made have already been put into practice. In future, efforts to innovate will be brought together in a new competence centre that the company plans to set up by the end of 2014.

hawo's two CEOs Hans and Christian Wolf believe its success in the Top 100 competition is a very special achievement: “Achieving second place in our size category shows us that we have done everything right. Together with our employees, we have worked ceaselessly for this success. And we will continue to do our utmost to remain one step ahead of the competition – for the benefit of our customers.”

There was a challenging selection process before the companies made it into the Top 100. Innovation researcher Professor Nikolaus Franke and his team from the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Vienna University of Economics and Business examined applications from 247 companies. The top innovator award was conferred on 148 of them in three size-based categories (with a maximum of 100 companies per category). The study focused on innovations management and successful innovation. “The Top 100 companies are extremely adept at translating their ideas into market successes, a hurdle at which many other companies fall. Strong team spirit and efficient processes enable the leading innovators to overcome this challenge, and they often also involve customers and external partners at an early stage of development,” said Professor Franke.

A glance at the statistics demonstrates the high standard of this year's Top 100, which include 65 German market leaders and as many as 21 world market leaders. In the past three years, the top innovators have together registered almost 2,100 German and international patents. Innovative capability has resulted in remarkable success for the companies, with 82 per cent of them exceeding the mean growth rate in their sector between 2011 and 2013 – on average by an impressive 22 percentage points. The proportion of their revenue attributable to innovative improvements and products new to the market was 41.6 per cent, compared with an average of just 6.8 per cent for all SMEs in Germany, while 62 per cent of the Top 100 are family owned.


The project's mentor is the journalist and television presenter Ranga Yogeshwar.

Project management and partners

This project has been managed by Professor Nikolaus Franke of the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Vienna University of Economics and Business since 2002. The focus of his research is on entrepreneurship, innovations management and marketing and he is one of the world's leading experts in the field of user innovation. The Fraunhofer Society for the Promotion of Applied Research is the Top 100 project partner. Further information is available at www.top100.de.

compamedia - mentor to the best SMEs

compamedia GmbH was founded in 1993 and has a team of 19 employees who organise the Top 100, Top Job and Top Consultant competitions for German SMEs. It also launched the Ethics in Business alliance for ethical values. It supports and awards prizes to small and medium-sized firms for outstanding achievements in the fields of innovation, human resources management, consulting and corporate social responsibility. compamedia works closely with leading universities on all of its projects.