Kivala-HR is Top100-Innovator

June, 2015  |  

_KDB9808Outstandingly innovative: Kivala-HR

Kivala is one of Germany’s most innovative SMEs


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

Innovation transcends borders: Kivala-HR standardises and simplifies HR processes and systems all around the world from its base in Essen. Little wonder that the company obtained particularly high ratings in the Top 100 competition’s Climate of Innovation category: last year, Kivala HR’s 38 employees were allowed to invest half a million euros on implementing innovative ideas and each took approximately 18 training days.

“Generating good ideas and implementing them quickly is an important competitive factor for us,” explained Frank-Reiner Gross, the company’s executive director. “This is why we invest a lot of time and money into managing innovation. In doing so, we are relying on the creativity and inventiveness of all of our employees. I should like to extend my heartfelt thanks to them for helping us win this Top 100 award.”

As Kivala has offices in Germany, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and the United States, it naturally follows that its employees should _MG_0135also be globally connected. There are regular employee gatherings, sometimes even in Barcelona: “There are no telephones ringing there, ruining people’s concentration,” commented Gross. The topic of social responsibility has an international dimension for Kivala too: in 2010, the company founded a Kindergarten in Ecuador and in the process, came across a word which was to have a lasting impact on the IT company: “kivala”. This means ‘future’ in the local tribal language of the Tsáchila people. It would scarcely have been possible to find a more fitting name for this top innovator.

The Top 100 accolade is awarded on the basis of a two-stage analysis developed by Nikolaus Franke, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Vienna University of Economics and Business Administration, 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.

_MG_0114The 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 Administration 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

compamedia – mentor to Germany’s top SMEs

compamedia GmbH, which was founded in 1993 and employs 15 people, organises the nationwide company benchmarking competitions Top 100 (since 1993) and Top Consultant (since 2010). The company collaborates with prestigious universities on these projects.


(c) Pictures by kdbusch 2015