Di Gasell top winners in Sweden for 2017 (photo Pax Engström Nyström)

Supporting Success for Entrepreneurs

In the mid-1990s, influential economist David Birch identified rapidly growing companies as key economic drivers and job creators, calling them “gazelles.” Just a few years later in 2000, Bonnier’s business dailies set up a new initiative to recognize these companies and their important contribution to the business world: The Gazelle Awards.

The awards honor small- and mid-sized companies that meet very stringent requirements, including profit and constant revenue growth over three consecutive years. And the awards have become an institution for the business communities of Bonnier’s business dailies – flagship Dagens industri in Sweden as well as Børsen in Denmark, Finance in Slovenia, Verslo Zinios in Lithuania and Äripäev in Estonia.

“The Swedish Di Gasell awards are an incredibly important part of Dagens industri,” says Lotta Edling, editor-in-chief. “We usually describe it as our own ‘national movement,’ it’s a good way of showing how we at Dagens industri appreciate and celebrate entrepreneurs, who are heroes of our time, and how we’re inspired by their constant striving for growth. Gazelle companies also symbolize for the most part everything that running a business is about: that it isn’t just about reaping in the profits during good times but toughing it out even when it’s a struggle. The Gazelles are also a completely unique way of taking the temperature of the market; the underlying surveys that the competition is based on tell a lot about what’s going on in the Swedish economy.”

In Poland where business daily Puls Biznesu runs the awards, some 4,000 companies out of an estimated 1 million small- and medium-sized enterprises have earned the Gazela Biznesu title each year over the past several years. We talked about what it’s like being an entrepreneur and what the awards mean with Małgorzata Bieniaszewska, the owner of automotive supplier MB-Pneumatyka, who has won the Gazela Biznesu trophy in Poland four times.

Małgorzata Bieniaszewska, owner of auto parts supplier MB-Pneumatyka, and four-time winner of Gazela Biznesu in Poland.

What’s your background and how did you end up running MB-Pneumatyka?

I always wanted to become a teacher. But then my father, who set up the company, had to pass management on to me due to medical problems. But to be honest, I knew the company very well. And my master’s degree in psychology serves me well in working with my colleagues and clients. Now, I’m close to getting my MBA, and after that I will go for a PhD in psychology! And I still have the time to write a blog on human resources and plan to publish a book about it.

What are your business plans? 

Currently we export to the EU, Brazil, China, Mexico and Turkey, but our biggest target is Russia. This year, we hope to build the next 2,000 square meters of production space as we increase our cooperation with the three biggest producers in our industry. So 2018 will be a year of expansion for us.

Do you have a problem with finding good employees?

Actually, no. Of course we’re on the lookout for new engineers who are highly motivated and have the right personality. But at the same time, we have many workers with 20 years of experience at MB-Pneumatyka. The mix of current employees with people that have just finished their studies create a unique and strong team.

Why is earning a Gazela Biznesu award important to you? 

I believe in business rankings and awards that are based on merit and that you don’t have to pay for to be part of, like Gazela Biznesu. I also appreciate the networking aspect of the awards. My company increases sales by 30-35 percent annually and the vast majority of this is linked to networking itself, so this is really key.