EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2019: The award winners

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  • The winners have been selected: Stefan and Christian Ganzoni (SIGVARIS Holding AG), Ueli Jost (Veriset AG), Fabio Ronga (beqom SA) and Patrick Thévoz and Adrien Briod (Flyability SA)
  • Dr Beat Curti honoured at the gala in Dübendorf as a "Master Entrepreneur"
  • For more than 20 years, EY has promoted entrepreneurship in Switzerland with this award

ZURICH, 25 OCTOBER 2019 – For the 22nd time, EY Switzerland has today honoured outstanding entrepreneurial achievements in Switzerland – at the Samsung Hall Zurich in Dübendorf nearly 500 guests from business, politics and society took part in the award ceremony for this year's Entrepreneur Of The Year award. A total of 45 entrepreneurs were nominated in four categories – an Entrepreneur Of The Year Award 2019 in Switzerland goes to:

  • Stefan and Christian Ganzoni, SIGVARIS Holding AG, Winterthur
    "Family Business" category
  • Ueli Jost, Veriset AG, Root (LU)
    "Industry/High-Tech/Life Sciences" category
  • Fabio Ronga, beqom SA, Nyon
    "Service/Commerce" category
  • Patrick Thévoz and Adrien Briod, Flyability SA, Paudex (VD)
    "Emerging Entrepreneur" category

In addition, the serial entrepreneur and philanthropist Dr Beat Curti was honoured as a "Master Entrepreneur".

Stefan Rösch-Rütsche, Country Managing Partner at EY in Switzerland, adds: "We congratulate the four winners and our Master Entrepreneur Beat Curti for winning the Entrepreneur Of The Year 2019 award. The award-winning entrepreneurs have convinced the judges with their successes, their innovative strength, their corporate and social commitment and, of course, their personality. All of these facets make for successful and first-class entrepreneurship."

SIGVARIS Holding AG – nine million pairs of stockings per year
Since its founding as a haberdashery business by Moritz Ganzoni-Sträuli in Winterthur in 1864, the company, which is still 100 per cent family-owned, has representatives from the 4th, 5th and 6th generations and, under the management of Stefan and Christian Ganzoni (owners and boards of directors), has experienced all of the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. In 1960, in collaboration with Dr Karl Sigg, the first medical compression stocking was developed. Today, as the world leader, SIGVARIS manufactures over nine million pairs of compression stockings in more than 30,000 variations for standing occupations through to personally tailored stockings, allowing people with venous disorders to live a better life. The specialised medical trade, doctors and hospitals are the main customers for their high-end products. At the heart of the international growth strategy are constant innovations building on the solid foundation of a more than 150-year success story.

Veriset AG – the largest Swiss kitchen manufacturer
CEO and Chairman Ueli Jost joined Veriset in 2000 as an external restructuring specialist. Three years later, he took over the company and developed it into the leading kitchen supplier in Switzerland. 3,000 furniture types and more than 100 different front designs can be combined to create any type of kitchen. Thanks to his strong strategic focus and the introduction of a high level of automation in production using state-of-the-art laser technology, Ueli Jost has more than doubled turnover within a few years. Thanks to skilful acquisitions of companies, today Veriset covers the entire value chain around the kitchen. Fundamental values, sustainable management and highly valued employees lay the foundation for Veriset's future growth and entrepreneurial success.

beqom SA – software solutions for company-wide compensation management
Fabio Ronga (CEO and co-founder) and the co-founders of beqom discovered a major market gap in the field of enterprise software during their joint work at SAP: existing programmes cannot sufficiently support executives in determining and communicating employee compensation. This is essential for the founders of beqom. In addition to the fact that salaries are usually the biggest cost factor for a company, they see a good understanding of compensation management as a key factor in employee satisfaction. The beqom cloud platform integrates seamlessly with ERP and other systems. This allows clear decisions on employee compensation relating to wages, bonuses, commissions, stock option plans or other additional benefits. Proportionate and fair remuneration, as well as transparent communication, are thus ensured. With beqom strategically aligned with the world's largest companies, the EasyPack solution has been in place since 2019, enabling small and medium-sized enterprises to address specific compensation management issues. This lays the foundation for further expansion. The first EasyPack addresses the problem of the gender pay gap.

Flyability SA – intelligent drones for safe deployment
When it becomes too dangerous for humans to enter complex and difficult-to-access environments as part of their work, Flyability's flying industrial robots are deployed. Patrick Thévoz (co-founder and CEO) brings with him his technical background, as well as in-depth business knowledge, which he demonstrates impressively. In 2014, together with his cousin Adrien Briod (co-founder and CTO), he founded Flyability, which employs 85 people today. The company develops industrial drones that can safely reach remote, confined and inaccessible spaces. The remote-controlled aircraft are mainly used in industrial plants or nuclear power plants due to cost savings and safety issues, but they are also deployed in police and fire-fighting operations. With a team of specialists, Flyability aims to become the market leader in the field of inspection robotics and remain one of the most innovative players in the drone market.

Dr Beat Curti honoured as "Master Entrepreneur"
With the "Master Entrepreneur" award, the Entrepreneur Of The Year jury has the opportunity to honour outstanding personalities for their life's work. This year it is taking this opportunity again and granting the award to Dr Beat Curti. The Swiss entrepreneur and investor, born in 1937, was initially heavily involved in media (including Beobachter and Jean Frey Publishing) and the retail trade (including Pick Pay, Prodega and Bon Appétit Group). Today, his focus is on digital opportunities (including Software One and Goldbach Media) and real estate; he is also an art collector and supports various institutions and foundations with his wife Regula Curti. Jury member Dr Paul Hälg comments: "He is a 'serial entrepreneur' and a 'social entrepreneur' who seeks his match. I would like to emphasize that his entrepreneurship never gave the impression of his being a voracious capitalist. Rather, he shares his success with others. He is still a master at inspiring people and exciting them about his ideas, so that they practically become their own."

The Jury for 2019
A selected jury is responsible for evaluating the finalists and awarding the Entrepreneur Of The Year awards. They examine the nominees autonomously and independently of EY. The jury for 2019 comprises Dr Adrienne Corboud Fumagalli (CEO Deeption SA, Vice-President of ComCom), Claude R. Cornaz (Chairman of the Board at Vetropack Holding AG, Entrepreneur Of The Year 2012), Thomas Hanan (CEO Webrepublic AG, Entrepreneur Of The Year 2017), Dr Paul J. Hälg (Chairman of the Board at Dätwyler Holding AG, Chairman of the Board at Sika AG), Dr Sara Hürlimann and Christoph Hürlimann (Founders of zahnarztzentrum.ch AG, Entrepreneur Of The Year 2010), Dr Jan Lichtenberg (CEO InSphero AG, Entrepreneur Of The Year 2015), Didier Maus (CEO Maus Frères SA), Simon Michel (CEO Ypsomed AG), Dr Edouard Pfister (Board of Directors at Société industrielle de Sonceboz SA) and Prof. Dr Thomas Zellweger (Director for the Centre for Family Business at the University of St. Gallen HSG).

A world-class award
EY's Entrepreneur of the Year™ programme is unique globally and has been established in more than 70 countries since its inauguration in 1986. In addition to the competition, the programme also includes various opportunities for entrepreneurs to develop their network and share the benefits of their experience. In total, more than 10,000 entrepreneurs apply for the title of Entrepreneur of the Year™. In the early summer of the following year, an independent jury, made up of all the national winners, selects the next EY World Entrepreneur of the Year™. This makes EY the only organization with an entrepreneurs' competition on a global scale.

EY is supported in the Entrepreneur of the Year programme in Switzerland by Credit Suisse as program partner, as well as by AMAG, H. Moser & Cie., Die Mobiliar and SWISS as sponsors. The search for the best entrepreneurs for 2020 has already begun; further information on this as well as general information on entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship can be found at www.eoy.ch.


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