Minister for National Economy Mihály Varga presented the “Investor of the Month” award to EPCOS Ltd; while MIRELITE MIRSA Ltd was awarded the “SME of the Month” title, and in the category of “Startup of the Month” the Minister handed the award to OptoForce Ltd at a ceremony held in the building of the Ministry for National Economy in Budapest.

One of the key objectives of the awards is to provide publicity to successful enterprises. The Ministry aims to distinguish those companies which have been contributing to Hungary’s economic growth through their efforts and results, Mihály Varga said.

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He stressed that when an enterprise launches a development project, it has to have trust in the future; it has to believe not only in its product but in its own potential and the surrounding environment as well.

The Minister was of the opinion that confidence has improved over the past months. This assumption is confirmed by the latest survey of the German-Hungarian Chamber of Industry and Commerce which shows that the number of enterprises aiming to invest in the Hungarian economy or add to their labour force is increasing, and the three-quarters of respondents would pick Hungary again as investment location. Mihály Varga added that besides foreign companies the latest country report of the European Commission and the studies of various analysts are signalling that confidence has been improving.

EPCOS Ltd, the winner of the “Investor of the Month” award, is one of the leading enterprises within the car industry of Western Hungary which has recently announced the largest investment project of its twenty-year history. Mihály Varga emphasised he considers it very important that the number of investments in this sector is growing.

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The company, a manufacturer of electronic components, is establishing a car industry development and production centre in Szombathely through an investment project valued at HUF 10.5bn and it plans to hire 220 new employees. The company is also adding to staff members at the R&D division with a current headcount of 150. EPCOS has over the past years increased R&D spending by some HUF 1bn per year or 5 percent of sales revenues.

MIRELITE MIRSA Ltd, the winner of the “SME of the Month” award, is a family enterprise which produces top quality deep-frozen food by utilizing exclusively Hungarian ingredients. Since it was established in 1984 in Albertirsa the company has received several Hungarian and international awards. After 1992 the enterprise was operated as part of the German Schöller conglomerate and following 2001 it was the subsidiary of Nestlé until in 2003 it became a fully Hungarian-owned business entity.

The “Startup of the Month”, the OptoForce Ltd, was founded in 2012. The prototypes of the company’s two main products, the 3D force sensor and the emulated elastic actuator, were developed by the two founders of the company, Ákos Tar and József Veres, during their PhD studies. Their field of study was robotic mobility and within that they were focusing on increasing the stability and flexibility of robotic movements. They needed a sensor which could detect not only the touching of the ground by a robot’s sole, but which was also capable of coping with a tilting or a landing robot parallel to measuring possible slippages and their direction. József Veres also constructed an engine which actively reacts and adapts to outside impacts and can bend similarly to human joints.

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In 2012, the young team won first places at competitions such as StartUp Underground, the Hungarian Innovation TechShow and Conference in Cyberspace which achievements have assisted in finding investors. At the end of 2012, the company managed to come to an agreement with the domestic investor groups Finext StartUp and Day One Capital which enables the mass production and marketing of products.

The mass production of the sensor is being currently prepared and the first mass produced items are expected to be completed in as early as May.

(Ministry for National Economy)