SME Power


Volkswagen, Bayer and Adidas are household names. But more than 95 percent of Europe’s largest economy is generated by lesser-known firms that aren’t listed on the blue-chip DAX Index. Meet the driver of Germany’s export economy: The Mittelstand

A letter from our editor

call for help

Five ways the government could help German SMEs

The Mittelstand is the country's biggest economic motor, but right now these mid-sized companies wish the government would provide some elbow grease. Nine associations tell the government just what could help the most in an annual report.

Convince and Keep

German Mittelstand struggles to lure IT experts to the middle of nowhere

As Germany plays catch-up in digital technologies, its key small- and medium-sized businesses are having trouble drawing much-needed IT talent.

Tomorrow's Toolmaker

Printing giant Heidelberg dreams itself a new future

The print giant Heidelberg wants to transcend its manufacturing origins, reimagining itself as a full-service information hub for a new era of industrial processes.

Van Laack, german luxury fashion company

Loose Threads

German shirtmaker van Laack watches as business unravels

A failed expansion, heavy competition and estranged owners are all pulling at the loosening seams of luxury fashion company van Laack.

No Ordinary Oma

80-year old CEO ready to pass the baton after corporate raider leaves

Now that activist investor Guy Wyser-Pratte left satellite maker OHB, the German Mittelstand company's 80-year old founder can take a much needed break.

Germany's Mittelstand

Battery problems threaten success of forklift firm

Jungheinrich has been making electric forklift trucks for 60 years. Demand is still strong but it faces a two-pronged problem: future battery supplies and increasing competition from automakers.

Family Values

German retailer Conrad Electronic is taking on Amazon and Google

Conrad is among a shrinking number of European electronic retailers. Eyeing survival, the family-owned company is swinging at the tech giants with a new smart home platform.

Heavy lifting

Germany’s J.D. Neuhaus keeps strong bonds

How the world's oldest family-run machinery maker, a German Mittelstand firm, persevered against adversity and worked on its magnum opus: the Las Vegas High Roller.


Secrets of German SME success revealed

A large number of small and mid-sized German firms have become global market leaders. How? A new study comes up with five answers – and a list of companies to watch.


Centuries-old German toy shop conquers internet

Germany’s oldest toy seller, Carl Loebner Toys, might be 333 years old — but online it’s beating the competition half its age.


Luxury skiwear maker Bogner heads downhill fast

Europe’s trendy ski resorts used to be teeming with skiers wearing colorful Bogner jackets. But now the brand – and its owner – have become old-fashioned and customers are melting away.

JAB Holding

A hands-off investment strategy pays off for Mittelstand’s JAB

Unlike its German peers, the Reimann family has given remarkable freedom to the managers of its holding company JAB. The rewards have been huge, with the family fortune now growing exponentially.


Making millions out of German mushrooms

The Deckers family makes good money with fungi. But the company is under pressure from foreign competitors, who mobilize their mushrooms across the border and label it ‘Made in Germany.’

chinese trade

Mittelstand learning to profit from China’s new Silk Road

China hopes that its “One Belt, One Road” initiative will revolutionize regional trade. It could prove to be equally revolutionary for small- and medium-sized German firms.

Kurt, Axel and Max Stürken

Family Firms

Leuchtturm sees the light

Leuchtturm could have stayed in its scrapbook-making comfort zone, but the owner’s sons chose to drag the company into the 21st century instead.

Private Equity

Finding returns in the Mittelstand

Financial investors are having more luck buying into Germany's small- and mid-sized companies. That's because unwilling targets are starting to see the logic.

Mittelstand Financing

A milestone for crowdfunding

A hotel group set a new €2.5 million record in Germany’s crowdsourcing market for small and medium-sized businesses. If regulations were eased, the deals could be even bigger.

Industry 4.0

Four Mittelstand firms that get the digital economy

Who says Germany’s family-owned, medium-sized firms can’t keep up with the Internet of Things? These four businesses are embracing the future.

ottobock prosthetics


Changing the Guard at Leading Prosthetic Maker

For the first time in the company's history, CEO Hans Georg Näder is drafting an outsider into a leadership position at family-owned Ottobock.

Mittelstand Abroad

Sprinting for The Yellow Jersey in America

Canyon Bicycles is hoping to do in the U.S. what it did in Germany: Pull away from the competition.