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For the 25th time, the TOP 100 competition has honoured the most innovative German SMEs. This year, DAW SE was included amongst these leaders in innovation. This was the result of the analysis carried out by TOP 100 Scientific Director Prof Dr Nikolaus Franke. As the TOP 100 mentor, Ranga Yogeshwar presented the company from southern Hesse with its prize at the ceremony held in Ludwigsburg on 29 June 2018 during the fifth Deutscher Mittelstands-Summit for SMEs. This is the second time that DAW SE has managed to make it into the innovation elite. Above all, it was the way the company’s innovative processes were organised that scored it points during the independent selection process.

With its 5,600 employees worldwide, the DAW company group generated sales of around EUR 1.3 billion in 2017 and is a market leader for building paint in Germany, Austria, Belarus and Turkey. It markets products for its professional segment under the name Caparol and for the DIY segment under the name Alpina. The company stood out in the TOP 100 analysis in the categories of Innovation-friendly Senior Management, Climate of Innovation, Innovative Processes/Organisation, Outward-looking/Open Innovation and Successful Innovations.

In order to receive an “A” rating, the paint manufacturer had to get through a strict two-stage process carried out by the Vienna University of Economics and Business. Both the present day and the future were the focus of the analysis, which examined, on the one hand, successful innovations that had already been realised. “But the professional innovation management set-up is almost more important, as it is what allows us to evaluate a company’s future potential for innovation,” says the study’s Scientific Director Prof Dr Nikolaus Franke, commenting on the analysis. The “A” rating is awarded to companies that have an exceptionally professional innovation management system in place, also by international comparison. Companies with this rating set standards, says Franke.

Since it was founded in 1895, DAW has been considered an innovative provider of environmentally friendly and safety-conscious products and services. The family-owned company, which was awarded a top three positioning at the National German Sustainability Awards in 2018, is already seen as a pioneer in the field with some of its products. “It has now been proven that our power of innovation is right up there with the best that German SMEs have to offer. This will strengthen our credibility and help us to build trust with employees, partners and, of course, customers,” says DAW CEO Dr Christoph Hahner, delighted about the result. Going forward, his goal is to develop specific concepts for sustainable construction using environmental solutions. “Because innovation is one of our most important competitive advantages,” says the head of innovation.