Poland, Belarus, Serbia and Slovenia have the highest number of hidden champions in Central and Eastern Europe, according to the International Association for Management Development in Dynamic Societies (CEEMAN) and the IEDC-Bled School of Management Postgraduate Studies.
The term hidden champions was coined in 1990 by German business leader Hermann Simon and refers to highly innovative and specialised small and medium-sized companies that are leading internationally in their niches.
In this case, hidden champions are companies that occupy a number one or two market position globally and a number one or two position in the European, CEE or regional market. A hidden champion company must be small or medium-sized and its revenue should normally not exceed one billion US dollars. Furthermore, it must have low visibility in the public domain and it must have been in operation for five years, otherwise, it is a potential hidden champion
Out of the 22 countries analysed, the greatest number of hidden champions was unearthed in Poland (11), followed by Belarus (10), Serbia (10) and Slovenia (10). The biggest number of potential hidden champions was found in Albania (four), followed by Estonia (four) and Moldova (four). Serbia and Lithuania boasted the largest number of new potential hidden champions (seven each), followed by Latvia and Poland (six).
The most important sectors in CEE resulted to be manufacturing (69), information and communication (20) and professional, scientific and technical activities (6).
The full Hidden Champions report can be read here.