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Gaslock honoured as top innovator

Company from Iserlohn is among the Top 100, and will
receive its award from Ranga Yogeshwar at the German SME Summit

Iserlohn: For more than 20 years, the Top 100 award has signified
innovative ability, thirst for knowledge and team spirit. Germany's most successful ideas factories will again receive this coveted
accolade on 27 June when Top 100 mentor Ranga Yogeshwar presents the awards at the German SME Summit in Essen. compamedia, the initiator of the Top 100 project, expects more than 1,000 guests to attend the ceremony. GASLOCK GmbH from Iserlohn is among the top innovators.



The Top 100 company GASLOCK, which specialises in the development and production of automotive parts and electronic devices, has its own unique approach to innovation, developing new products which it initially aims at end customers. If the reaction from these customers is positive, it opens the product up to other sales channels. This approach has enabled this small company employing just 22 people in the town of Iserlohn in North Rhine-Westphalia to attract some major partners. For example, its new self-locking fuel cap has earned the company preferred supplier status from

The company is currently focused on developing a compelling market position in the camping vehicle sector. It used ultrasound technology to develop a gas level indicator that measures how full a propane gas cylinder is. The innovative GASLEVEL became a best-seller and GASLOCK positioned itself as a capable partner for development and manufacturing. The company also places particular emphasis on having a structured innovation process, because success only comes when there is corresponding demand. Management and staff systematically look for new product ideas on internet forums and in other places. If they discover a promising gap in the market, they courageously embark on plugging that gap – a process that involves upfront investment. Only when the company has a viable prototype does it approach potential customers. GASLOCK undertakes much of its production internally so is not reliant on outside contractors. This doesn't just speed up the innovation process; it keeps costs under control as well. Managing director Jörg Lienenkamp believes the company's success in the Top 100 competition is a very special achievement: "We see winning the Top 100 accolade as a reward for our joint efforts in the company, but being innovative means not resting on your laurels. We may be celebrating today, but tomorrow we will be back at work experimenting with new ideas."

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There was a challenging selection process before the companies made it into the Top 100. Innovation researcher Professor Nikolaus Franke and his team from the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Vienna University of Economics and Business examined applications from 247 companies. The top innovator award was conferred on 148 of them in three size-based categories (with a maximum of 100 companies per category). The study focused on innovations management and successful innovation.

"The Top 100 companies are extremely adept at translating their ideas into market successes, a hurdle at which many other companies fall. Strong team spirit and efficient processes enable the leading innovators to overcome this challenge, and they often also involve customers and external partners at an early stage of development," said Professor Franke.

A glance at the statistics demonstrates the high standard of this year's Top 100, which include 65 German market leaders and as many as 21 world market leaders. In the past three years, the top innovators have together registered almost 2,100 German and international patents. Innovative capability has resulted in remarkable success for the companies, with 82 per cent of them exceeding the mean growth rate in their sector between 2011 and 2013 – on average by an impressive 22 percentage points. The proportion of their revenue attributable to innovative improvements and products new to the market was 41.6 per cent, compared with an average of just 6.8 per cent for all SMEs in Germany, while 62 per cent of the Top 100 are family owned.

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