A producer of vacuum equipment used, among other things, in the manufacture of wind turbine rotors, a manufacturer of therapeutics employed in diseases previously thought to be untreatable, and a developer of innovative testing systems and reagents that are vital, for example, in organ transplants – these are the winners of “Hessen-Champions 2021”. As varied as the companies are, one thing unites them all: each one is highly specialised and delivers customised solutions. What is more, they reflect the diverse nature of Hessen’s economy.
“This innovation and growth award pays tribute to exemplary companies that are facing the challenges of the present and the future and thereby symbolise the strength and success of Hessen’s economy,” said Tarek Al-Wazir, Minister of Economics, at the awards ceremony. “Hessen-Champions” demonstrate that investment pays off. Hessen’s economy is well on the road to recovery. What matters now is making the most of the opportunities that sustainability offers: the efficient use of resources and the ability to innovate on the path to achieving climate neutrality are the basis for long-term success, both here in Hessen and in markets around the world.”
Al-Wazir, Wolf Matthias Mang (President of VhU – the Association of Hessian business organisations) and Jürgen Zabel (Managing Director of MBG H Mittelständische Beteiligungsgesellschaft Hessen mbH) jointly demonstrated their recognition of the importance of Hessen’s Champions for the competitiveness of Hessen’s economy and called for other companies to take part in next year’s round.
“Consistent optimisation and enhancing performance within a team are bywords for true sporting and entrepreneurial spirit. Today, the main focus is no longer on technological leadership, to which we in Germany can rightly attribute our economy’s success. What we need now is the courage to try out new business models”, underlined VhU President Wolf Matthias Mang. “The type of creative, courageous entrepreneur that takes an experimental approach, combining the perfectionism they have been trained in ever since Germany’s economic miracle with the Anglo-Saxon principle of trial and error. We need a new spirit of openness in relation to what is new and better, not just in terms of patent applications, in which we Germans have attained second place in the world, but also in terms of practical implementation. Once again, Hessen-Champions 2021 and the finalists have shown that this can be done. My respect!”
Jürgen Zabel, Managing Director of MBG H on the huge amount of innovative strength, flexibility and open-mindedness displayed in particular by small and medium-sized enterprises. “These companies are proving how much they contribute to Hessen’s economic success. Getting through this crisis and over it with grit and determination is worthy of respect.”
“I am optimistic about the future because I know the great business potential we have here in Hessen”, says Dr. Rainer Waldschmidt, Managing Director of Hessen Trade & Invest GmbH (HTAI), which is responsible for organising the competition. “As the economic development agency for the Federal State of Hessen, we support these companies.”
The winners of the three categories are:
Global Market Leader
HEDRICH GmbH, Ehringshausen-Katzenfurt
HEDRICH GmbH is a leading global engineering company in the field of machine and vacuum plant construction, specialising in the development, construction, assembly and testing of made-to-measure customer solutions. HEDRICH provides innovative technical products and services along the entire value chain for the electrical and automotive industries, as well as the wind power and composites sectors. The company is an expert and full-range service provider for the processing of vacuum insulating materials to optimise dielectric properties in silicone, cast resin and oil-paper insulating systems. HEDRICH operates in over 30 countries and employs more than 230 people. In relation to the future market that is electromobility, HEDRICH has already made its mark with new impregnation technologies for electric engines and is continuously developing new solutions in manufacturing the drive of the future. With a 25% market share, HEDRICH is a worldwide leader in the “electric” sector and boasts a 30% share in the wind rotor blade manufacturing industry.
BioSpring GmbH, Frankfurt am Main
BioSpring GmbH is a global leader in the production of diagnostics and therapeutics for its clients in the pharmaceutical, biotech and academic sectors. BioSpring is Europe’s largest manufacturer of oligonucleotide-based substances. Oligonucleotides are short, synthetically produced sequences of nucleotides, which are made up of the same building blocks as DNA and RNA – the foundation of our genetic information. Therapeutic oligonucleotides can be used, for example, in diseases that were previously thought to be untreatable. The company has grown to become a global leader in the production of oligonucleotide active agents in the rapidly expanding field of genome editing (CRISPR/Cas9), a revolutionary process for the targeted modification of DNA. BioSpring currently employs around 350 people. A total of 86 new full-time positions were created in 2020, and another 123 new full-time positions will be created in Hessen by the end of this year. The company plans to create an additional 463 full-time positions by the end of 2024.
BAG Diagnostics GmbH, Lich
BAG Diagnostics GmbH operates worldwide in the fields of human genetics, infectiology, transfusion and transplantation medicine. This family-run company aims to use innovative products to make sophisticated diagnostics simple, efficient and reliable. Its scientific and technical expertise has enabled BAG Diagnostics to develop testing systems for human genetics and immunological typing. Reagents are crucial in immunological typing for safe organ transplants and accurate blood transfusions. In human genetics, tests that are designed to analyse hypersensitivity reactions and autoimmune diseases enable the rapid and clear diagnosis of disease risks with a genetic background. In 2020, BAG Diagnostics developed a real-time Covid-19 PCR test to the point of market maturity in just 39 days.
“Hessen-Champions” is a competition run by Hessen's Economics Ministry, VhU and Mittelständischen Beteiligungsgesellschaft Hessen, and carried out by Hessen Trade & Invest GmbH (HTAI).
“Hessen-Champions”, the innovation and growth prize awarded by the Federal State of Hessen, comprises three categories: the Global Market Leader category is aimed at companies based in Hessen that are worldwide leaders in their industry in terms of a product or service. When choosing the winner of the Job Creator category, the jury considers companies that have generated an above-average number of new jobs in Hesse. The Innovation category is geared towards companies offering innovative products and ideas and is primarily aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises.
The winners are selected by a jury comprising representatives from the worlds of business, politics and the media. Some 76 companies applied this year, ten made it through to the finals. The jury chose them from a total of 88 applications.