The award for
Germany's most
innovative SMEs

This is the TOP 100

Together with mentor Ranga Yogeshwar, the TOP 100 honours the most innovative of Germany's small and medium-sized enterprises. The TOP 100 has been established for more than 20 years and is:

  • the only competition for innovation management
  • the most important award for innovative SMEs
  • a Club of Excellence made up of Germany's innovation elite
Ranga Yogeshwar is the top 100-project's mentor

Ranga Yogeshwar, a physicist and well-known radio and television presenter in Germany, is the TOP 100 project's mentor.

What TOP 100 stands for

„The innovative capability of a TOP 100 company should focus on the future; it should be sustainable – both in-house and in the outside world. This requires a rounded, well-balanced innovation strategy“, explains Professor Doctor Nikolaus Franke.

TOP 100


Small and medium-sized German companies are eligible to take part. They are divided into three size categories at the outset:

Size category A: up to 50 employees
Size category B: 51 to 200 employees
Size category C: more than 200 employees


During the qualification round, participants complete a qualification questionnaire. This takes 12 to 15 minutes. The initial questionnaire is used by the TOP 100 project management team to assess each company's innovative potential and decide which ones will progress into the final round.


In the final, the companies complete another questionnaire in order to demonstrate their strengths in five categories: 

  • Innovation-friendly Senior Management
  • Climate of Innovation
  • Innovative Processes/Organisation
  • Outward looking/Open Innovation
  • Successful Innovations

This takes two to three hours. 


The project management team uses a special process to determine the most innovative SMEs in each of the three size categories. The finalists then find out whether they count among the TOP 100.

Panel of judges

The best three companies in each size category are also presented to the TOP 100 judges, who then select the 'Innovator of the Year' in each category.

Awards ceremony

All of the TOP 100 companies and the three 'Innovators of the Year' receive a prize from Ranga Yogeshwar at the annual awards ceremony and gain access to the TOP 100 package of benefits.