Weltmarktführer Südwestfalen

Hidden champions - these are companies that have been at the forefront worldwide with innovative products, sometimes for decades, but often remain hidden from the public eye.

This was also the case in South Westphalia until a few years ago. The internationally active companies acted as technology leaders and drivers of innovation, but hardly anyone in the region and beyond knew them.

169 Hidden Champions aus der Region

World market leaders, top performance and cutting-edge technologies from South Westphalia. One of Germany's leading industrial locations introduces itself.

Quick search:

By sectors:

arrow up
arrow down

South Westphalia remains a leading industrial region


While only 27% of employees subject to social security contributions worked in the manufacturing industry nationwide in 2022, the figure in South Westphalia was 43%. This means that the region with its districts of Olpe, Siegen-Wittgenstein, Soest, Hochsauerland and Märkischer Kreis remains one of the strongest industrial locations in Germany. Industrial turnover increased by 13.3% in 2022 compared to the previous year. As an industrial and technology location, South Westphalia is a positive example of a prospering region in a rural area of North Rhine-Westphalia that is far removed from the metropolises.

South Westphalian companies occupy market niches in which they are often global leaders. The economic region is characterised by a broadly diversified industrial sector structure with predominantly owner-managed companies. In particular, the many innovative and internationally active SMEs or privately owned family businesses pursue distinctive niche strategies.

There are a particularly large number of companies in the automotive, metal and mechanical engineering and building technology sectors.

Another sign of the region's industrial strength: the manufacturing industry in South Westphalia contributes more than 42% of gross value added (GVA). In NRW as a whole, this figure is only 27%. The manufacturing sector (industry in the narrower sense) accounts for 34% of GVA in South Westphalia. In NRW, this share is 18%.

In 2022, disposable income (general purchasing power) per inhabitant in South Westphalia was at the national level and above the state average. The residents of South Westphalia have an average of € 414 more disposable income than the national average. At 9.7%, the growth rate from 2018 to 2022 is also above average.

The region is also characterised by the tourist destinations Sauerland and Siegerland-Wittgenstein, which attract millions of guests to the green region every year.

Main source: South Westphalia in figures - an overview of the region's structural data (as at June 2023).

You don't get to the top by chance. What are the characteristics of a world market leader?

World Market Leaders from A-Z