Who are Bremen's hidden champions? Hidden champions are small and medium-sized businesses that are among the global market leaders in their niche industry; they are usually owner-managed and highly influential in shaping the market with their products – but few people have heard of them.
A number of these hidden champions can be found in Bremen. They come from all areas of business, including the maritime, aerospace and digital industries. They show that Bremen is regarded as one of the most innovative locations for industry in Germany – and rightly so. The city has the highest export quota of all Germany's federal states – products that are manufactured here are in demand all over the world.
Let's take a look at twelve hidden champions from Bremen:
SAACKE manufactures firing systems for the marine industry and for industrial processes. These include burners that are used in power stations and refineries or to generate steam on seagoing vessels. The company also produces exhaust gas cleaning systems that reduce emissions from ships at sea. SAACKE employs around 1,000 people worldwide and has been based in Bremen since the 1950s.
2. Fr. Lürssen Werft
The name Lürssen may well be familiar to local people, but the shipyard in Bremen-Nord is still a hidden champion on the international stage. As well as building naval vessels, the company is also a market leader in yacht construction. The rich and famous have their luxury yachts built in Bremen by a team of around 1,000 employees based at several locations.
Augmented reality (AR) is a key technology of the future. UBIMAX specialises in glasses that superimpose digital information onto the real world. The company provides its AR glasses to industry for use in warehouses for order picking, inspection tasks, assembly support, quality control and remote maintenance – and this has made it a global market leader.
4. Saturn Petcare
This name should perhaps be more familiar to our four-legged friends, as Saturn Petcare is one of the largest pet food manufacturers in Europe. But don't be surprised if you have never heard of it, as the company, which employs just under 500 people, makes pet food in Bremen on behalf of many reputable brands.
5. GTF Freese
GTF Freese is a family-run business and market leader in the field of deck coverings, surface technology and flooring technology. The company installs durable flooring coverings on cruise ships and ferries, applies coatings to exterior surfaces to prevent corrosion and fits flooring in industrial buildings.
6. Vector Foiltec
Light and airy architecture has been popular for many years now, and Vector Foiltec supplies the corresponding plastic foils for making roof systems and cladding systems. The exterior of the National Aquatics Center in Beiing is one of the company's landmark projects. The Bremen-based business designs, plans and builds roofs from ETFE foil cushions and has become a global market leader in its field. BU: Getting ready for an expedition: Kloska lorries provisioning the Polarstern research vessel