Romana Schwab is a member of the WIKARUS jury this year. Photo: Innovation Salzburg)

13. June 2022

Behind the scenes of the WIKARUS jury

Who are the most innovative companies in Salzburg? This is the question asked by the WIKARUS jury, who will award the Salzburg Business Prize on 27 September. The submissions are currently being evaluated. As our innovation expert and head of the Innovation Service Centre Romana Schwab is part of the jury in the “Innovation” category, we are allowed to take a look behind the scenes.

What role does Innovation Salzburg play in WIKARUS?

We support the Salzburg Chamber of Commerce in the innovation category, because innovation is our core mission. We help with the application process, organize the jury and pre-select the submissions. We also moderate the jury meeting.

What happens in the jury meeting?

We provide the pre-selected submissions to the jury. During the jury meeting on Thursday, July 7th, the jury members jointly evaluate the six best submissions and choose a winner in the innovation category. However, the result remains strictly confidential.

How does the jury evaluate the submissions?

There are specific criteria by which each submission is evaluated. One criterion is the degree of innovation: Is the innovation only new for the company or is it a world first? Are there patents behind it? Companies must describe how their innovation differs from competitors in their submission.

Entrepreneurial performance also plays a role: What was the risk of development? How much money was invested in relation to turnover? Is the innovation a core product or a development that does not affect the company’s core business or opens up a completely new business area?

We also evaluate whether the innovation has an impact on the market and the location, and whether there have been collaborations with scientific institutions, for example. This increases the quality of the innovation. Really innovative products can hardly be developed alone, it requires a network.

Innovation expertsMonika Feichtner and Romana Schwab support the WIKARUS jury. (photo: Innovation Salzburg)

What happens after the jury meeting?

The result remains under wraps for now. However, the top five ranked companies will be contacted and filmed. The awards ceremony will take place during the WIKARUS gala evening on September 27th where the winners will be announced.

Are there any innovation trends in the submissions?

I can reveal that we have some truly outstanding companies and innovations, real world firsts on the market. It’s hard to say who will win, but we will see worthy winners. The trends are definitely in the areas of digitalization and sustainability.

What makes Salzburg companies innovative?

Innovations depend on people. Many Salzburg companies give their employees the conditions, time, and creative freedom to try out ideas. Innovation needs free spirits and not narrow conditions.

How can a small company be innovative?

You have to create exactly these framework conditions for your employees. I know companies that give their employees weekly time budgets to work on ideas. Large budgets and modern machines help to be innovative, but even small companies can give their employees room for innovations.

Why is it worth submitting to the WIKARUS?

The WIKARUS brings visibility. We have many highly innovative companies, hidden champions, that are not seen. WIKARUS winners are presented in various media and also nominated for the State Prize for Innovation. Therefore, the advertising effect is great.

What would you like to say about the WIKARUS in conclusion?

We can be happy that we have so many innovative companies in Salzburg. It’s great what they have achieved in these difficult times.



Romana Schwab

Mag. Romana Schwab

Monika Feichtner

Monika Feichtner, MBA

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