World Entrepreneur Of The Year:

Monaco attracts entrepreneurial winners from 60 countries

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Entrepreneurs and innovators from near 60 countries are now in Monaco for this year’s World Entrepreneur Of The Year. The Nordic national winners at this event, organised by EY, span from a medical technology company to a supplier of dispenser equipment for breweries, a manufacturer of forestry machines and a construction and property group.

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year, the world’s largest programme of its kind, is in its 31. season. World Entrepreneur Of The Year, taking place from June 7-11 in glamorous Monaco, is the conclusion of this year’s regional events in 150 cities and national finals in 60 countries.

“The programme’s purpose is to identify and inspire the world’s most successful entrepreneurs. Such people are fundamentally important to the economy, providing jobs and innovative and competitive products. Often they are also in other ways major contributors in their local communities”, says Terje Andersen, head of EY’s advisory business in the Nordics.

These are this year’s Nordic winners, representing their respective country in Monaco:

Sweden: Johan Löf from RaySearch Laboratories AB

RaySearch Laboratories is a radiation treatment company founded in 2000. The company has 210 employees and 2016 sales of SEK398m.

Johan Löf was 16 years old when he lost his mother to lung cancer, and he has since dedicated his life to helping cancer patients. After studying Engineering Physics, he went on to complete a PhD on radiation treatment to remove cancer tumors at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. It was here, in 1999, where he wrote his business plan on a single sheet of paper with a vision of improving cancer survival rates and quality of life for patients.

That plan was the start of what is now RaySearch Laboratories. The medical technology company is today a global leader in software for radiation therapy, accurately calibrating the optimal radiation therapy for the individual patient. It supports 2,600 clinics in more than 65 countries in the fight against cancer. Of its 210 employees, 120 focus entirely on R&D. RaySearch is listed on the Nasdaq Stockholm. 2016 net sales rose by 34 per cent compared to the previous year.

Denmark: Søren Vilby from Micro Matic AS

Micro Matic is a leading supplier of dispenser equipment for breweries worldwide. The company was established in 1953, and today's owners acquired the business in 1974. Micro Matic is based in Odense, Denmark, and has manufacturing and sales locations worldwide.

The success has been propelled by a clear investment strategy from the owners, bold and purposeful leadership from CEO Søren Vilby and a great team of people.

In recent years, the company has managed divestments to focus and has pursued a number of acquisitions to increase market share and global reach.

Practical innovation is essential to the company’s success, and investment in new and innovative products continues to be a high priority – also innovative ways of developing partnerships, sales channels and client service.

Finland: Juha Vidgrén from Ponsse Plc

Ponsse was established by Juha Vidgrén's father in 1970 when he saw a need for powerful forestry machines. Today, Ponsse is one of the world's leading suppliers of such machinery, with a 77 per cent export share.

Deep in the Finnish countryside is Vieremä, a place often described as being “in the middle of nowhere” with a population of just 3,700. Yet from this small town, Juha Vidgrén and his three brothers run a global success story: Ponsse, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of forest machines and a pioneer of timber harvesting solutions.

As Juha’s father, Einari Vidgrén found that the forest machines available in the market could not withstand heavy use he began to build his own machines. The first Ponsse machine was capable of enduring both frigid arctic temperatures and tropical heat. Soon, other companies were asking for Einari’s highly durable machines.

From that moment on, the company has grown from strength to strength. In 2016, it produced a record number of forest machines at the Vieremä factory, and today its sales and services network covers 40 countries.

Norway: Jørgen Evensen and Peter Sandrup from BetonmastHæhre

Betonmast was started by the two in 2006, after having worked together for many years in a larger construction company. Ten years later, BetonmastHæhre is the largest and fastest-growing privately owned construction and property group in Norway. It has also further expanded into the Nordics.

From the start, the company has demonstrated a continuous profitable growth. In the months after being awarded EY Entrepreneur Of The Year in Norway the company has in fact doubled its size through the merger with Hæhre Isachsen and two acquisitions. The new members of the family are all led by former national EOY finalists. The renamed BetonmastHæhre now has more than 2,500 employees and a turnover that in 2017 will exceed one billion dollars.

For media inquiries, please contact EY’s Nordic heads of PR:

  • Denmark: Michael Basland, (+45) 2529 3047
  • Norway: Kris Lunde, (+47) 916 69 000
  • Sweden: Stina Gustafsson (+46) 73-355 06 31
  • Finland: Katriina Puro, (+358) 400 791 537

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