FOUNDER PRICE NRW 2018: FLS GmbH & Co. KG from Aachen nominated among the 10 Best

Family-friendly, innovation-promoting and continuously looking ahead: these values have been the basis of our success since the takeover of FLS GmbH & Co. KG in 2016 by Janina Keuters. The Aachen-based production planning company has been nominated for the GRÜNDERPREIS NRW 2018 for its philosophy and innovative business idea.

Ten successful founders have been nominated for the GRÜNDERPREIS NRW 2018. They can now all hope for prize money totalling 60,000 euros.

Economics and Digital Affairs Minister Prof. Dr. Andreas Pinkwart is enthusiastic about the wealth of ideas of the young entrepreneurs: “The start-up scene in our state is lively and creative. With the GRÜNDERPREIS NRW we want to recognise their achievements and inspire others to put their own ideas into practice.

“This year, more women entrepreneurs applied than in the previous year, which is also reflected in the nominees: four of the ten finalists are women,” says Eckhard Forst, Chairman of the Managing Board of NRW.BANK. “As a development bank for NRW, we provide the founders with the appropriate financing and advice. With the GRÜNDERPREIS NRW we support our state as an innovative business location”.

“My aim is to create a working environment for my employees that offers family flexibility and compatibility. At the same time, I create systems and structures that allow me to combine my vision of career and family – without making any compromises,” says Janina Keuters, explaining her motivation to take over the company.

The company has been developing IT systems for customers in the mechanical engineering, automotive and plastics sectors since 1979.

A valuable wealth of experience, which is used to permanently further develop the existing systems. In addition to cost efficiency, the digital and flexible planning solutions guarantee the important connection to industry 4.0. In the future, the company will increasingly rely on female developers who bring new ideas and approaches to the team. In order to promote innovative ideas more strongly, a special internal ticket system was developed: If an employee has an idea, he can easily send it directly to the management and colleagues involved via ticket. “This, together with flat hierarchies, increases the individual’s room for manoeuvre and puts team spirit in the foreground.

This year, the jury chaired by Prof. Dr. Christine Volkmann showed a particularly diverse landscape of applicants: technology start-ups, companies from the social sector but also from the clothing and education sectors as well as food producers and medical technology companies entered the race for the NRW GRÜNDERPREIS. The jury, consisting of representatives of the initiators, the Ministry of Economic Affairs of North Rhine-Westphalia and NRW.BANK, as well as business start-up and economic experts from North Rhine-Westphalia, selected the ten best business ideas from around 120 submissions. Those who win the prize, worth a total of 60,000 euros in prize money (1st place: 30,000 euros, 2nd place: 20,000 euros, 3rd place: 10,000 euros), will be presented at the award ceremony on 19 November 2018 in the K21 STÄNDEHAUS in Düsseldorf.