Since 1995 the daily Børsen has each year identified Denmark’s growth elite, and over time the gazelle has become part of the Danish language as a synonym for growth businesses. The selection is made from the database of Soliditet which has more than 700,000 vat registered companies in Denmark.
In short the definition of a gazelle is: A business which has achieved a continuous growth in revenue or gross profit for the last four financial years, and which has, in total, more than doubled the revenue or the gross profit in the period.
The criteria for being a gazelle are:
– Corporate form: Public limited company or private limited company
– Lines of business: particular lines of business are eliminated (e.g. holding companies)
– Activity: revenue of DKK 1 million/DKK ½ million in gross profit
– Profitability: the sum of operating profit > 0
– Growth in 4 years: > 100 per cent
This year only 833 companies fulfilled the criteria and results to make it to Gazelle status.
For Freetrailer Denmark this year’s award is the fourth Gazelle consecutively – a feat only accomplished by a mere 17 companies this year and only 2,9% of the all companies achieving the award over the 18 years the award has been given. Imagine what this percentage then must be out of all the companies all together from the 18 years.
»Gazelles are inherently experimental creatures, exploring new markets with new products,
succeding sometimes, messing up frequently, recovering – and starting the process all over again.«
(Kilde: Bounding Gazelles, The Economist 28/7/94 )
The idea behind the Gazelle award actually stems from the US. What is interesting to note is that a research of the 1990’s found that while the Gazelle companies in the US only could account for 3% o the job force in the American private sector, but actually accounted for 70% of all the newly created jobs.
Financial research company Cognetics Inc, conducted a research in 1994 published in Corporate Almanac 1994 studying 250,000 companies that qualified as Gazelles. The evolution of companies were described as follows: The Elephants, i.e. the very big companies such as US Steel Corp., General Motors Corp. and General Electric Co, dominated the world of the 1950’s. In the 1980’s the Mice took over. these were companies with a maximum of 20 employees who were responsible for hiring people for 20 million new jobs, while the Elephants were firing 4 million people. In the 1990’s came the Gazelles. These companies were typically big enough to possess the necessary technology necessary for competing but simultaneously nimble and small enough to be able to react quickly.
Economist David Birch from Cognetics pointed out that the difference between the Gazelles and the Mice not only was their sizes but also the extent of their visions and degree of specialization in their production. The owners of the Mice were thinking small. Either they were typically owners who inherited the companies from family and just focused on keeping the companies alive or they had started their companies with a focus on upkeeping an income. Throughout the 1980’2 these companies thrived on the general economical growth and related increase in demand present.
The Gazelles were different. The owners of Gazelles weren’t just looking at keeping the companies alive and well, but had a high focus on additional growth.
»To succeed in the more competitive, slow-growth business environment today, a company needs more scale, more depth, more capital. We have built up a reservoir of untapped technology that is close to critical mass and those companies that tap it will have outstanding growth opportunities. Those that can’t or won’t will find it hard to crack into this marketplace«
(Stephen Roach, Morgan Stanley Group Inc., Washington Post 3/7/94 )
The company Freetrailer is owned by FT Group, a company owned and operated by Allan Søndersov Darré, Aksel Blomgren Ambjørner and Mikkel Pitzner. Spearheading the company is Allan Sønderskov Darré along with a great team of specially selected employees.