SMEs: Germany’s Economic Backbone
Exports are driven by Germany’s backbone of highly inno-
vative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the
renowned Mittelstand. They constitute 99.6 percent of all
companies, employing around 60 percent of the German
workforce. Many of these SMEs are hidden champions –
world market leaders in their respective niche segments.
Together with internationally leading large companies –
including Bayer, BASF, Daimler, Volkswagen, and Siemens –
they make up Germany’s manufacturing industrial base.