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iPoint-systems once again crowned "Innovator of the Year"

For the 23rd time, the names of Germany's TOP 100 most innovative SMEs have been announced. And iPoint-systems gmbh is celebrating big time after being crowned overall winner in its size category (companies with between 51 and 250 employees). The Reutlingen-based company took part in an exacting selection process founded on scientific evaluation criteria and fielded questions from the TOP 100 jury. The competition's mentor, Ranga Yogeshwar, paid tribute to the company during the Deutscher Mittelstands-Summit (German SME Summit) on June 24 in Essen, Germany.

iPoint-systems has already been awarded the TOP 100 seal of approval on five occasions and has worked consistently to develop and improve since the first time it participated in 2005. And this year saw iPoint once again succeed in making it onto the podium, being crowned overall winner in size category B for companies with between 51 and 250 employees. It was in 2012 that the firm first took top spot as "Innovator of the Year" in category A (up to 50 employees). This renewed success makes iPoint-systems the very first company to be victorious in two different TOP 100 size categories.

The owner-managed software and consulting enterprise is the world's leading provider of process management software for product compliance and sustainability. The software enables companies to manage, control, and check compliance with product-related, regulatory, and customer-specific requirements applicable to substances, materials, and processes. The company's product portfolio includes an cloud-based platform for collecting, analyzing, and reporting on data concerning so-called Conflict Minerals. In the space of just three and a half years, the company won over more than 39,000 clients from 90 countries thanks to this software. The organizational structures of the company allow iPoint-systems to identify market opportunities, develop innovation strategies, and integrate them into development projects. "For us, ‘innovation’ is all about developing new, surprising, and meaningful ideas and putting them into practice," explains CEO Joerg Walden.

Above all, the TOP 100 jury praised the "Agile Sustainable Open Innovation" approach, in which external partners as well as the approximately 75 Germany-based employees (of worldwide 111 employees) are actively involved in innovation projects. In its statement, the jury writes:

"The approach combines a number of the latest methods of innovation management in a highly exemplary manner. It focuses on the innovative capability of the entire company, the opening of innovation processes, and the development of an innovation-encouraging culture as the goals of all activities."

This year, more than 4,000 companies were interested in participating in TOP 100 competition. 366 of them applied to take part in the qualification round, with 284 of them reaching the final round. In the end, 238 were able to claim a place among the TOP 100 (a maximum of 100 in each of the three size categories). Once again, the competitors were assessed by Prof. Dr. Nikolaus Franke of the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation of Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU) and his team, who posed questions relating to 100 parameters in five different evaluation categories. The three best entrants in each category were then selected to take part in the elimination round to find the overall winner in their respective TOP 100 size category. The decision by which the companies were crowned "Innova-tor of the Year" was made by the TOP 100 jury – comprising experts from the worlds of economics, science, and politics – on the basis of all the information gathered.

Those companies who qualify for the TOP 100 competition belong to the absolute pacesetters in their respective industry sector. This is substantiated by the data gleaned during the evaluation process: Among the TOP 100 businesses are 97 national market leaders and 32 global market leaders. On average, each of them accrued 40 percent of their sales from new products and services and from product improvements they brought to market before their competitors did. Their sales growth was 28 percentage points higher than the respective industry sector average. Together, the SMEs in the TOP 100 have registered 2,292 national and international patents over the past three years. This innovative capacity is also having a hugely positive effect on jobs at these companies. The TOP 100 are planning to take on some 9,500 new staff during the coming three years.

TOP 100 mentor, science journalist and TV presenter, Ranga Yogeshwar, is highly impressed by the quality of the enterprises and hopes that their efforts and achievements send out an important message to others: "The way in which the TOP 100 generate new ideas and develop pioneering products and services from these ideas is truly remarkable. And I'm happy that this award honors and highlights these very qualities. Let's hope that the success of these companies encourages others to follow them. This culture of innovation will in the future be of greater and greater importance to all businesses."

TOP 100: The competition

Since 1993, compamedia has been awarding the TOP 100 seal of approval to small and medium-sized enterprises that demonstrate extraordinary levels of innovation and above-average success based on their innovativeness. Since 2002, scientific and academic leadership of the competition has been in the hands of Prof. Dr. Nikolaus Franke of the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation of Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU). The mentor of TOP 100 is the science journalist and TV presenter Ranga Yogeshwar. Project partners are the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V. and the Bundesverband mittelständische Wirtschaft (BVMW – German Association for Small and Medium-sized Businesses). Germany's manager magazin accompanies the benchmarking process as its media partner. For more information, visit www.top100.de