As a country with a widespread start-up scene, Germany enhances the competitiveness within budding entrepreneurs by creating more job opportunities around the country. This entrepreneurial culture generates more products and services boosting a growth in the economy and initiating a discussion nationally and internationally on what opportunities Germany’s future can provide. Here are five German-born entrepreneurs and the history of their companies.
Karl Friedrich Rapp was one of the founders of what is now known as Bavarian Motor Works - BMW. Karl Rapp was a mechanical engineer with an entrepreneurial vision and the dream to have the best business in manufacturing and selling engines. Using what he had learnt from his previous job at an automotive company, Rapp had the knowledge and skills to build his own empire and he ended up creating Rapp Motorenwerke, which ultimately became part of BMW.
As one of the most popular car brands in the world, BMW’s net-worth is valued at €55.8 billion. Starting off as an aircraft manufacturer in Munich, over the years BMW has adapted with the demands and restrictions of the war, going from manufacturing engines to manufacturing complete vehicles. With several mergers and acquisitions over the years, BMW has overseen production for Land Rover, Rolls Royce and Mini along with purchasing several plants internationally to ease manufacturing processes.
Hugo Ferdinand Boss was born in 1885 and grew up in Metzingen. Serving time in the army, Boss went on to work as a merchant. He moved on to work in a weaving factory until taking over his parent’s lingerie store. Returning to the army, Boss was out of practice for a couple of years until he decided to leave and use his leadership skills to found his own company, the Hugo Boss brand.
Established in 1924, Hugo Boss is a German luxury brand producing both women’s and men’s clothing but also cosmetics, watches, eyewear and fragrances. During the war, Hugo Boss made uniforms for several different German groups and became the official distributor and designer of uniforms which boosted business. Nowadays, you can find Hugo Boss products in 127 countries and they also have an online presence in the USA, China and nine European countries.
Carl Heinrich Theodor Knorr was the founder of the Knorr Company. Born in Braunschweig in 1800, he created his own start-up by selling chicory to people who were in the coffee industry. After a few years, Knorr unsuccessfully tried to start several different ventures, eventually experimenting with drying vegetables and seasonings, which led him to the start of the famous Knorr Company.
The curiosity, vision and creativity Knorr played a key-role in the launch of the first Knorr dried soups across Europe in 1873. Knorr’s innovative ideas also led to the production of the Knorr Bouillon cube. The brand is available in every country, including a diverse range of flavours from around the world with many chefs and experts working on these incredible ranges still to this day.
Rudolf Dassler, born in Herzogenaurach, along with his brother Adolf first founded a company creating sports shoes, specifically footwear, for athletes. During World War II, Rudolf joined the army and due to an incident of miscommunication, the brothers decided to split. Rudolf used his connections to create a new opportunity for himself and that’s how PUMA was born.
With a history in football boots, and the evolution of screw-in studs, PUMA has long been one of the leading competitors producing footwear for top football players. PUMA is also known for continuing to create footwear for athletes, just like the brothers used to do. The company also produce football garments and Formula One shoes, which allows them to create more diversity in what they do and therefore reach wider audiences.
Karl Albrecht was the richest person in Germany when he passed away in 2014. Albrecht and his family were known for being extremely money-smart, not spending on luxuries and recycling a lot of stuff. After falling out with his brother during the time when they were both running Albrecht Diskont together, Karl became the CEO of ALDI Süd.
Originally a small store in Essen called Karl Albrecht, the two brothers took over their mother’s business. With a vision to expand and make the first ever discount store, they created what we now know as the food store chain ALDI, a shortened version of Albrecht Diskont. ALDI is open in 18 countries worldwide with over 10,000 stores and is quickly becoming the biggest supermarket in several countries.