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Start-ups & Businesses

The Vogtland region for visionaries

CEO and company founder Rainer Gläss

From Schöneck out into the world

Rainer Gläss is the CEO of GK Software, a firm founded in the Vogtland region. He has turned his vision into reality. His dream? To develop some of the world’s best software – without subsidies or backing from venture capital. Just two computers, a vision, and the drive to make it happen. Established in 1990, GK is now a leading provider of integrated shop solutions in Europe. The name stands for the initials of the firm’s co-founders, Rainer Gläss and Stephan Kronmüller. Everything the company does is geared toward one goal: to deliver the most innovative, most flexible solutions available for retailers, providing superior customer service and out-competing its rivals. Gläss sets high standards for himself and his company: “We’re not about imitating others. We aim to lead the way. Everything GK does is top level. We simply don’t accept anything else.”

One in ten newly installed register systems worldwide runs on software from the Vogtland region

Now, 30 years after it was founded, the company has some 1,100 employees working at 14 locations worldwide – and it’s still growing. Major corporate groups like Edeka, Thalia, and Douglas already trust the company’s thoughtfully designed and intuitive technologies. They also know they can rely on GK’s expertise and industry knowledge as they expand.

Foto: GK Software
campus café | GK Software

Raising the profile of the Vogtland region and surrounding area

The company has brought fresh impetus to the Vogtland region. GK is the very first company in the German state of Saxony to become a Societas Europaea. It has about 400 employees in the town of Schöneck. Over its 30-year history, the company has grown to the point that it now has its own campus. From cafés and meeting rooms to a childcare center and sports facilities, the campus offers a wide range of amenities. It is a welcome addition for visitors from near and far. GK even opened its own hotel in 2018. With a modern style and great attention to detail, the hotel welcomes business travelers from all over the world who are visiting GK alongside vacationers and families.

CEO Rainer Gläss, a passionate skier, supports a local ski club through the company’s sponsoring activities and works to maintain and expand the slopes and cross-country trails around Schöneck. He is proud of his employees: “Our people are creative, hardworking, and very loyal, standing by the company. That’s the difference between us and a big city. And besides, who else can offer their employees a chance to go skiing right in their own backyard after work?” Physical activity and well-being are top priorities here. Employees can challenge themselves on a climbing wall or get a massage to relax.

But that's not all. The company also takes action to support creativity. GK has invested significant amounts in an innovation center, and it was the driving force behind nonprofit network SüdWestSachsen Digital e.V. The organization, which works throughout the southwestern region of Saxony, supports companies and institutions as they adopt new and advanced technologies. It also strives to attract creative visionaries and keep them in the area.

The Vogtland region: an attractive alternative to the big city

GK also knows how important it is to cultivate next-generation talent. The company partners with higher education institutions and engages in extensive student outreach, offering semester-long practical placements and opportunities for thesis or dissertation projects as well as internships for secondary school students, formal apprenticeships, and summer jobs. “In our industry, it doesn’t matter where you’re located. And from a global perspective, Schöneck is right next door to Berlin,” Gläss notes.

Big cities like Leipzig, Dresden, and Berlin just aren’t for everyone. These days, more and more people are looking to more rural areas as they plan for the future. In recent years, a number of young families have bought up properties in the town of Schöneck to build their homes here.

More about GK-Software

Company building and campus café | GK Software