Volkmar and Torsten Wywiol are family entrepreneurs of the year 2018
Volkmar and Torsten Wywiol are family entrepreneurs of the year 2018. Father and son, who run the company for the second generation, received the prestigious prize in mid-November at Schloss Bensberg. The award is presented annually by the INTES Family Business Academy (PwC Group). With the Stern-Wywiol group the choice this year fell to a company that has developed in less than 40 years from a single fighter to one of the important players on the global market for functional ingredients for food and animal nutrition. The jury acknowledged that this success was based on the values of a family business and that this status could be secured in the long term despite the dynamic growth of the Wywiol family.
Volkmar Wywiol laid the foundation stone in 1980 in Hamburg. With its start-up mentality and the urge to turn ideas into action and to transfer this enthusiasm to all employees, managed Volkmar Wywiol to develop the one-man company to a dynamic group of companies, which employs over 1,400 employees worldwide in 16 offices. In the previous year, the company achieved annual sales of more than half a billion euros with 520 million euros.
Mastering the generation change is not the easiest task. For the Wywiol family, the focus was always on strong family ties and the urge to find their own solution. At an early stage, Volkmar Wywiol entrusted his son Torsten with the overall management of the company and cautiously withdrew from operational management. "Building a company requires a different personality and skills than building. My son has these skills, "says the founder. Nevertheless, the father is an idea generator and sparring partner every day in the office and is responsible for marketing. Meanwhile, Torsten Wywiol has not only significantly increased the group's sales, it has also driven internationalization and built a strong network for further growth in key global markets.
Twelve specialized specialist companies develop, produce and distribute functional ingredients under the umbrella of the holding, which facilitate the production of food and feed. These include internationally known companies such as Hydrosol, Mühlenchemie, SternMaid, SternVitamin, Sternchemie, SternEnzym, HERZA Schokolade and Berg + Schmidt. Every single company has a strong specific expertise in bakery, dairy, delicatessen, meat, fish, chocolate, flavors, lecithin, enzymes and vitamins. Its customers include large bakeries, dairies, food and confectionery manufacturers as well as feed producers in 136 countries.
"Our business model can only be implemented with the DNA of a family business: a leadership concept at eye level, flexible structures and a high degree of freedom for the individual. As a result, employees have a strong entrepreneur mentality every day. Competitive spirit, willingness to take risks, willingness to invest and creativity lead to our exceptional innovative strength, which sets us apart from large corporations, "explains Torsten Wywiol.
In concrete terms, this means that the success of the Stern-Wywiol Group is based on its versatility in application consulting and the interdisciplinary exchange of knowledge between technologists and scientists. The modern Stern Technology Center in Ahrensburg near Hamburg is the heart of the group. Here the research and application technology are combined in a central facility. The transfer of know-how, joint work, interdisciplinarity and a look beyond one's nose lead to solutions for the customer. 15% of the German employees work in application engineering and development.
"As a company operating free of corporate structures, our independence is almost sacred to us," says Torsten Wywiol, "which has always allowed us to be a bit different from others. Sometimes a little unconventional, but all the more creative and successful. "