In the competition, the ceremonial final takes place in Dresden. We present the title contenders.
Friday 13 May can be a lucky day: for the winner of the “Saxon Entrepreneur of the Year” competition. Or maybe it will be a duo? Or a trio? Men and women from 69 companies volunteered or were proposed. The bosses of 52 companies were selected, and 25 addresses were also selected for the award for sustainable development.
Saxony’s most important business award, now in its 17th edition, is a project spanning generations. At 26, Sophie Schieback, head and co-owner of Straßen- und Tiefbau GmbH See in Niesky, could theoretically be the granddaughter of the oldest participant at 78: Jürgen Erkmann, managing partner at Chemnitz software house iFD GmbH. The size of the companies involved ranges from the extravagant Karlskopf clothing store in Leipzig with two employees to the ESF Elbe-Stahlwerke Feralpi GmbH based in Riesa with 690 people. All candidates and nominees for this season represent a total of 4,299 employees.
Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer (CDU) will announce who will pick up “Dream” next Friday at a gala at the VW glass factory in Dresden. Then, the best resource manager in the “Focus X” and start-up categories of the year will also be honored. After online voting, the five finalists compete against each other to present their business idea live. 200 guests of the gala vote for their favorite. It remains exciting until the end. (sz)
Frank Wolf, Martin Böhringer, Lutz Gerlach – Staffbase GmbH, Chemnitz
The Staffbase GmbH management trio, founded in 2014, knows what the awards are: Clearbox 2022 Choice Award for the world’s leading intranet, awards for one of the ten most family-friendly and fastest growing German software and technology companies, Inkometa Award for successful internal communication . But Frank Wolf (46), Martin Böhringer (36) and Lutz Gerlach (48, pictured from left), founders and CEOs of Chemnitz, are still hot: for success and money for further growth. In March, the leading employee communication app received another € 106 million in a funding round – the final step towards the first “unicorn” in Saxony. Start-ups worth one billion euros are considered “unicorns”.
The platform improves the communication of 13 million employees in over 2,000 global companies, such as Deutsche Post DHL and MAN Truck & Bus SE. Staffbase is hitting the nerves of the global economy, more than doubled sales in 2021 and increased the number of employees to over 600 at 16 locations. The company convinces with its impressive development “and successful internationalization from Saxony”, praised the jury of the Entrepreneur Award. Is another award waiting for the successful trio?
Turnover 2021: EUR 39.6 million
employees currently: 600 (group)
Katrin Monika Miunske, Jana Maria Kirstein – Miunske GmbH, Großpostwitz
Katrin Miunske almost won the 2015 Saxon Entrepreneur Prize. Because already then she was in the finals of the best. Now the 49-year-old is getting ready to bring “Dream” to Miunske GmbH in Großpostwitz near Budziszyn – together with Jana Kirstein (46, left in the photo), with whom she shares management and shares in an automotive supplier. Ten years ago, the sisters replaced Father Johannes. Established in 1996, the one-man company has grown to become a world-renowned supplier of systems for commercial and special vehicles, as well as mobile work machines, with approximately 90 employees.
Customers in 38 countries appreciate the electronic components from Lusatia. Unique Miunske innovations include the first commercial vehicle steering column “Made in Germany” and an audio module that alerts the driver when the battery is low. At Miunske, all employees have systemic importance, all are encouraged and appreciated. “During the pandemic, the company made forward-looking research and development decisions,” the Entrepreneur Award jury admitted – also “an amazing 33 percent increase in sales” in corona year 2021. This time Miunskes will be on the podium?
Turnover 2021: EUR 14.5 million
Employees currently: 90
Dietmar Tietz, WT Energy Systems GmbH, Riesa
Dietmar Tietz is not a man of big words. The boss and main shareholder of WT Energiesysteme GmbH admits that “just in case, he did not prepare a speech about the entrepreneur award”. A 58-year-old graduate engineer wants his actions to speak for themselves. His team of 75 people is now moving from a rented address to his own new € 15 million building with offices and a large workshop. It is there that control cabinets for substations are built, thanks to which the company, which was founded in 2002 and has branches in Dresden and Offenburg, Sweden, has made a name for itself.
The specialist in the planning, construction, maintenance and modernization of substations and transmission stations has launched about 170 such projects for solar, wind and biogas power plants – a division with growth potential. The jury of the Entrepreneur Award named WT “a model company focused on the future in terms of efficiency in the segment of energy conversion, energy supply and the use of renewable energy.” The care for the workforce of Germans, Uzbeks, Poles, Romanians and Iranians, the family atmosphere, training and social benefits is also praised. Does boss Tietz have to give a speech?
Turnover 2021/22: about 40 million euros
Employees currently: 75