Even on cruise ships, children romp around in the playgrounds of the Berliner Seilfabrik, the company is a hidden champion and successful on the markets worldwide, said laudator Matthias Trunk, Sales Director of Gasag, on Tuesday evening in the publishing house of the Tagesspiegel. Reason enough to award the rope manufacturers the “Berlin Prize for Business 2022”. Senior boss Karl and his son David Köhler accepted the award, which is endowed with 2000 euros. The Berlin Prize for Business, awarded by the Made in Berlin association, honors “entrepreneurial foresight, flexibility and innovative ideas”, as Stephan-Andreas Casdorff, editor of the Tagesspiegel, explained . But it is also very specifically about entrepreneurial success. With a turnover of 25 million euros and 130 employees, and the trend is rising, the rope factory has created a crisis-proof basis for its future. Founded in 1865, the company initially dealt with suspension ropes for elevators and reinvented it much later as a manufacturer of playground equipment. In Montreal, Canada, you can find more playground equipment from the rope factory than in Berlin, Trunk said. The company built a large adventure playground in Budapest.
“ANTOhealth” GmbH, which was founded last year and deals with rail transport, won in the “Newcomer of the Year” category. The company, which was spun off from the TU, develops hardware and software that monitors trains and the track infrastructure using sensors and cameras and thus immediately recognizes where maintenance is required. “You know in advance that a train will be canceled,” said Carsten Jung from the Berliner Volksbank. That could definitely help Deutsche Bahn in the current traffic chaos.
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The jury’s special prize went to the company “Forever Clean”, a service company that primarily gives untrained women a chance. This is then made up for in the job. People with disabilities are also welcome in the team. Dinah Spitzley, herself an entrepreneur, recognized the social commitment of founder Aynur Boldaz-Özdemir. With the Berlin Prize, the “Made in Berlin” association wants to highlight the achievements of entrepreneurs and the importance of the economy in the city, as Joachim Spitzley, founder of “Made in Berlin”, emphasized. “We want to show what business can do. Entrepreneurship often has negative connotations in Berlin.” Knowledge of economic relationships is not that widespread in the city. “It’s often about: How do I get government dough.” If the expropriation of housing companies is now being discussed, it has a rather demotivating effect on entrepreneurs.
Economics Senator Stephan Schwarz (independent, SPD) tended to emphasize the successes of the capital’s companies and was extremely impressed by Berlin’s economy. “Berlin did extremely well during the crisis.” In 2021, company sales grew by 3.3 percent, five billion euros were invested in Berlin during the pandemic, and more than ten billion euros were invested as venture capital in start-up oops flowed. The restart after the pandemic also went very well. “The engine started right back up.” The insolvency figures were still below those of 2019, i.e. before the pandemic. Tourism is also doing very well. “We have better numbers than London or Paris.” However, the new crisis with the Ukraine war is still overshadowing the pandemic. The “transformational impact” is much greater, companies have to take a very close look at their supply chains in order to avoid greater dependencies. However, he would not speak of a “deglobalisation”, which some now consider necessary.
The panel discussion, moderated by Stephan-Andreas Casdorff, dealt with the energy crisis and the shortage of skilled workers. The high energy prices would lead to distortions in the short term, but in the long term they would promote renewable energies and thus also climate protection, said Schwarz. Spitzley also confirmed this. The entrepreneurs were already trying to find a “self-sufficient energy supply”. It has not yet been decided what the energy mix of the future will look like, said VBKI Managing Director Claudia Große-Leege. “The crisis will lead to a lot of creativity” and thus also to new technical solutions. Carsten Jung, CEO of Berliner Volksbank, explained that the lack of skilled workers is currently the biggest issue among his customers. “How do we get people not to leave the company at the age of 60?” Grosse-Leege also said that society had to deal with extending the working life. Better education and qualifications are also important in order to counteract the problem. Stephan Schwarz mentioned the in-company training, “we are still below average there. We usually ignore the topic in the discussion.” This was also an appeal to the entrepreneurs in the audience.