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2017 Gazelles: the fastest and the best

Slovenian daily Dnevnik has given out awards for this years’ best fast-growing companies, the Gazelles. The golden award went to agricultural machinery maker Tehnos, the silver to hydraulic presses maker Sitor and the bronze to Varis, prefabricated bathrooms manufacturer. The winners are among 6.150 fast growing companies in Slovenia which account for 40 percent of the total net profits of Slovenia’s economy.

2017 Gazelles: the fastest and the best

This years' Slovenian Golden Gazelle is Tehnos, an agricultural machinery producer from Žalec in central Slovenia. The company is constantly expanding and upgradeing its facilities and invests up to 24 percent of its sales revenues into research and development. According to Tehnos' founder and CEO Anton Kisovar they plan to operate strictly as an industry 4.0 company relying heavily on robotized manufacturing. Tehnos has been operating since 1989: the company has doubled its sales revenues in the last five years. Its sales reached 12.8 million euros in 2016.

 

The jury didn't have an easy task picking out winners from an excellent list of finalists. Six companies from different regions in Slovenia made it to the finals. The silver award went to Sitor, a specialized manufacturer and developer of hydraulic presses for processing plastics, rubber and wood. Sitor also managed to double its sales in the last five years: its 45 employees created just below 10 million in revenues in 2016. Varis won this year's bronze gazelle award. Varis is european leader in prefabricated bathrooms: its clientele includes some of the top global hotel chains like Sheraton, Holiday Inn, Novotel, Intercity and Hempton. The company sold 3,500 bathrooms last year earning almost 19 million euros.

 

The remaining three finalists are no less interesting. The DonDon company has evolved into an undisputed Southeastern-European donut king. The baking company employs 1,400 people from Slovenia to Bulgaria and has tripled its revenues in five years. Next is Adria Dom, which is a fast-growing spin-off from leading motorhome and caravan producer Adria Mobil. Adria Dom focuses on small mobile houses and high-end glamping tents. 3fs from Kranj is an extremely interesting software company, or group of »digital craftmansmen« in their own words. The company's spin offs include Toshl – a personal finance mobile application, Toonia educational apps for kids and tricky Tribe, a mobile game studio and the creator of the Tinker Island game. 3fs also developed a virtual coloring book for adults called Lake: the application received this year's Apple Design Award. Toshl and Toonia companies operate from the USA, while 3fs headquarters remain in its home town of Kranj.

 

These six finalists are only the tip of the iceberg. The Agency for Public Legal Records and Related Services of the Republic of Slovenia (AJPES) publishes a special annual report on fast growing companies. The latest report was issued in October and focuses on a period between 2012 and 2016. According to AJPES Slovenia 6,150 companies qualify as "fast growing" in this period. The total number of companies operating in Slovenia last year was 124,490.

 

 

To be considered fast growing, a company must reach 13 criteria: the crucial one being that the company has to at least double its sales in five years.  Most of the fast-growing companies are mid-sized. What is surprising is that almost one fifth of Slovenian large companies also belong in that category. Fast-growing companies are key creators of new jobs, they are important for a country's economy. In Slovenia this group of companies seems to be particularly important, they are responsible for 25 percent of the economy's total sales revenues, almost 40 percent of its net profits and 27 percent of net value added. If you wish to count within Slovenian economy, you'd better grow fast. 

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