The second annual Inc. 5000 Europe list--which recognizes the private companies with the fastest-growing revenues over three years--shows how entrepreneurship continues to spread from the established likes of England, Sweden, and Germany to next-generation economic players like Latvia, Lithuania, and Hungary. The new founders on the continent are "young, digital, hungry, self-confident, and smart," says Jacqueline Fendt, scientific chair of entrepreneurship at ESCP Europe Business School. Incubator and accelerator programs continue to ramp up, and technical schools produce thousands of engineers each year--and while all that is encouraging, so is the strength in manufacturing and construction, the sectors that placed the most companies on the current 5000.

Here are some of the highlights from this year's list.

Location: Spain
Inc. 5000 Ranking: 1

The fastest-growing company in Europe got there by cutting red tape: Madrid-based MP VAT Services created a single system to simplify tolls, VATs, and refunds for transport companies moving goods across national borders.

Location: Latvia
Inc. 5000 Ranking: 2

Latvia's capital, Riga, is the city with the most top-30 companies on the list, with four. Matiss Ansviesulis, co-founder of the consumer-lending company that clocked in at No. 2, cites his country's growing infrastructure and limited bureaucracy. Latvia also has the lowest corporate taxes in the Baltics.

Location: Malta
Inc. 5000 Ranking: 4

Europe's appetite for mobile sports betting and gaming vaulted this tiny island nation's company to the topmost ranks of the list--its three-year growth rate is 2,231 percent.

Location: Sweden
Inc. 5000 Ranking: 6

Thanks to hits like "Sunshine" (with David Guetta), "Wake Me Up," and "I Could Be the One," Stockholm's Tim Bergling--the electronic musician, producer, and DJ better known as Avicii--is one of Europe's best new businesses. Point out, if you must, how troubled the music business is, but this 26-year-old's performance suggests all is far from lost.

Location: Austria
Inc. 5000 Ranking: 62

Among countries with more than 20 Inc. 5000 companies, the aggregate growth rate of Austria's honorees, which were led by this motorcycle parts maker, was 246 percent--tops on the continent.

Location: Romania
Inc. 5000 Ranking: 63

Romanian soccer legend Gheorghe Hagi founded this fotbal club--what the U.S. calls a soccer team­--in 2009 in tiny Ovidiu. There, he's developed players who've gone on to play for bigger teams in England and Italy.

Location: Lithuania
Inc. 5000 Ranking: 89

Capital city Vilnius is home to 73 Inc. 5000 honorees, the top ranked being logistics company UAB. Lithuania has 59 such companies per million citizens--good enough for fourth on the continent among countries that placed more than 20 companies on the 5000.


For the complete list of the current Inc. 5000 Europe and additional coverage, visit inc.com/inc5000eu.

Number of Companies
Per Country

Sweden
554
United Kingdom
538
France
451
Spain
387
Romania
333
Finland
324
Hungary
280
Slovakia
216
Norway
204
Portugal
203
Russian Federation
190
Lithuania
169
Latvia
161
Bulgaria
147
Italy
131
Czech Republic
114
Estonia
109
Greece
101
Croatia
67
Austria
51
Slovenia
42
Germany
37
Belgium
35
Poland
34
Bosnia & Herzegovina
33
Denmark
26
Ukraine
20
Netherlands
19
Switzerland
8
Iceland
4
Ireland
3
Malta
3
Turkey
2
Azerbaijan
1
Cyprus
1
Liechtenstein
1
Monaco
1
San Marino
1

Number of Companies
Per Sector

Manufacturing
842
Construction
714
Retail
589
Business Products & Services
420
Logistics & Transportation
372
Food & Beverage
351
Health
207
IT Services
174
Consumer Products & Services
162
Travel & Hospitality
154
Engineering
136
Software
132
Financial Services
117
Telecommunications
92
Human Resources
88
Real Estate
87
Advertising & Marketing
68
Energy
67
Media
60
Education
47
Environmental Services
43
Security
32
Insurance
23
Government Services
17
computer hardware
7

From the March 2016 issue of Inc. magazine