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Strength in innovation: Strama-MPS Maschinenbau

Success built upon entrepreneurial vision: Strama-MPS Maschinenbau GmbH & Co. KG was honoured as one of Germany's most innovative SMEs at the German SME Summit in Essen on 26 June. The Straubing-based company joins an exclusive group of prizewinners stretching back more than 20 years as Top 100mentor Ranga Yogeshwar awards it the Top 100 seal of approval. The award to Strama-MPS Maschinenbau is the outcome of a two-stage analytical procedure by a team of research scientists.

In the Top 100 innovation competition, Strama-MPS Maschinenbau GmbH & Co. KG scored particularly highly in the Climate of Innovation category. The custom engineering specialist works closely with graduates and every year provides topics for bachelor and master's theses. It's an arrangement that benefits the next generation of mechanical engineers as much as it does the company, with the latest research findings rapidly translating into real-life applications. "For us it is the ideal situation to be working with talented students when entering a new market, developing a new process or going into a new sector," said managing director Herbert Wittl.

This leading innovator, with its 530-strong workforce, focuses on an interdisciplinary approach and flat hierarchies. "We need employees who are creative and above all keenly interested in their work – those who will quickly adapt to new requirements," commented Wittl. This calls for an interdisciplinary model: "It's only possible to rapidly deliver successful innovations if engineers and hardware and software planners tackle a project together and give each other help and advice," explained Wittl, who goes on to thank his employees for their hard work: "We are indebted to the many ideas generated by all members of our team. I should like to extend my heartfelt thanks to them for helping us win this Top 100award."

The Top 100 accolade is awarded on the basis of a two-stage analysis developed byNikolaus Franke, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Vienna University of Economics and Business, and his team. The research scientists use more than 100 parameters in five separate categories to investigate how SMEs manage and generate successful innovations. The decision as to which companies ultimately receive the Top 100 award lies exclusively with the academic coordinators of the project.

This year, Professor Franke and his team reviewed more applicants than ever before, with 234 out of a total of 302 qualifying companies making it into the final. After the finalists had been split into three size categories (maximum of 100 companies in each size category), 178 were awarded the accolade. The German SME summit in Essen provided the setting for the awards ceremony.

The Top 100 are outstanding in every respect: this year's crop includes 71 domestic market leaders and as many as 31 global market leaders. In the last three years, the top innovators have together applied for a total of 3,405 German and international patents. Nearly 41 per cent of their recent revenues came from new products and innovations, which they brought to the market before their competitors (average of all SMEs in Germany: 6.6 per cent). This success is no accident: the top innovators invest an average of 10.5 per cent of revenues in research and development (average of all SMEs in Germany: 1.5 per cent). Two thirds of the Top 100 are family businesses.

The Top 100 competition

Since 1993, compamedia has been awarding the Top 100 seal of approval to SMEs with particular innovative capacity 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. Professor Franke is one of the world's leading experts in the field of user innovation. The Top 100 is mentored by journalist and television presenter Ranga Yogeshwar, and organised in partnership with the Fraunhofer Society for the Promotion of Applied Research. manager magazin provides media support for the company benchmarking competition. Further information is available at