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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Number of Companies