EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2016: Award winners

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  • Winners of the Entrepreneur Of The Year competition 2016 announced
  • Event held in French-speaking Switzerland for the first time
  • Major gala event in the Hotel Royal Savoy in Lausanne

ZURICH, 28 OCTOBER 2016 – For the 19th year in a row, the awards for the Swiss Entrepreneur Of The Year were bestowed today in the categories “Trade/Services”, “Industry/High-Tech/Life Sciences”, “Emerging Entrepreneur” and “Family Business”. Under the motto “chefs d’œuvre” (masterpiece), the gala event for the competitors was held in French-speaking Switzerland for the first time in the history of the Swiss Entrepreneur Of The Year competition. The internationally renowned Hotel Royal Savoy Lausanne offered a fitting setting for the celebration and its protagonists. Around 300 guests from the business, political and cultural arenas accepted the invitation to Lausanne to celebrate with the proud winners. For Bruno Chiomento, Chairman of the Board of Directors of EY Switzerland, this evening is always especially inspiring: “It touches me every time to see the great joy with which our award is accepted by these experienced entrepreneurs. They are all people who act on their convictions in the best sense. If we can make their lives even a little easier, we should absolutely do this.”

In Switzerland, the awards for the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2016 were presented to:

Olivier Brourhant: Benchmark for the consulting business

Olivier Brourhant, co-founder, co-owner and CEO of AMARIS SA, from Geneva, received the Entrepreneur Of The Year award 2016 in the category “Trade/Services”. Brourhant built up the global AMARIS Group in only nine years. The group has made an outstanding name for itself internationally in the area of technology and business consulting. AMARIS is active worldwide in countries too small for the major competition, where it recruits young professionals on-site as suited to the problems at hand. This strategy, in combination with rigorous digitalization and globalization, has resulted in impressive growth since the group was founded. AMARIS now has offices at 70 locations and independent branches in over 45 countries. With more than 2,600 employees, it currently generates revenue of around CHF 150 million. “Olivier Brourhant is a dedicated, inspiring and electrifying entrepreneur, whose visions touch everyone who meets him,” said jury member Dr. Paul Hälg, describing his appreciation for the 42-year-old. This and his impressive business track record have earned him the well-deserved title of Entrepreneur Of The Year 2016.

Willi Miesch: In good company and in the best of traditions

In the “Industry/High-Tech/Life Sciences” category, the jury bestowed the award on Willi Miesch, co-owner and CEO of the Basel-based medical technology firm Medartis AG, and an entrepreneur who “would succeed anywhere in the world with his approach”, in the words of jury member Bernhard Alpstaeg. Miesch won over the jury thanks to his highly independent way of thinking and sensible approach to taking action and making decisions. His company, Medartis, is a sought-after development partner for physicians in the plastic surgery domain, as well as oral and maxillofacial surgeons, hand and foot specialists, and orthopedic and trauma experts. In these areas, the Medartis development teams work in close cooperation with leading scientific institutes and highly qualified practitioners to create high-precision implants for the surgical treatment of bone fractures and osteotomies. These are all developed and introduced to the world at the company headquarters in Basel. Medartis currently employs around 350 staff worldwide. The company has become a world leader since its founding around 20 years ago. “With Willi Miesch, the jury is proud to welcome the technological epicenter of Medartis AG to join the ranks of the Entrepreneur Of The Year,” said Bernhard Alpstaeg.

Dr. Tej Tadi: Ideally suited to realize the "next big thing"

In the “Emerging Entrepreneur” category, the jury gave the Entrepreneur Of The Year award 2016 to the neuro-technology specialist Dr. Tej Tadi. Based in Lausanne, Dr. Tadi heads a powerful young company with around 50 highly qualified employees. The first product created by his company, MindMaze SA, is a therapeutic device for impairments of the nervous system. It uses brain research findings, stimulates the healing process with sophisticated artificial maneuvers, and supports neuro-rehabilitation directly after an impairment occurs. MindMaze devices for domestic use also make it possible to do training exercises at home. Play-based elements provide incentives to practice, ensuring that patients remain motivated in the face of treatments that are often lengthy. Edouard Pfister, representing the jury, said that “MindMaze has created a widely respected brand in its field after only four years in business. Its founder also deserves credit for this.” Tej Tadi impressed the jury with his clear focus, strong ambition and unshakable confidence. He is convinced that MindMaze will improve the world. “Tej Tadi is simply the ideal candidate for the Emerging Entrepreneur category,”" said Pfister. The jury’s opinion is shared by the international investor community, which already values the company at over USD 1 billion.

Hans-Rudolf Schurter: Catalyst for family interests

The Lucerne-based SCHURTER Group won the 2016 award in the “Family Business” category. SCHURTER develops and produces electrical and electronic components, managing a range of 25,000 products in total. The long-standing CEO and current Chairman of the Board of Directors, Hans-Rudolf Schurter, accepted the Entrepreneur Of The Year award. Schurter took over the group from his father in 1985. As a third-generation entrepreneur, he has greatly boosted the group’s growth. All the while, he has been appreciated and respected at all locations as a prudent and intelligent CEO with a focus on human values. His successor in this position will find a state-of-the-art corporate group that is entirely independent and very well-positioned internationally. With around 1,600 employees and 18 companies, 11 with their own production facilities, the group currently operates in 15 countries. From a business perspective, this is already more than impressive. However, Claude Cornaz, jury member and 2012 award winner in the same category, highlighted importance of the role that Schurter has mastered when it comes to structuring family interests: “A family business without binding family governance becomes more susceptible to disruptions with each generation. Hans-Rudolf Schurter took on this challenge. He pooled the family interests and laid the key foundations for maintaining the group’s future success as a family business. The coming SCHURTER generations will certainly thank this year’s award winner.”

Entrepreneurs put to the test

From the time they apply until the final decision is made, the competitors have three obstacles to overcome. First, only those who meet the required criteria may be nominated to enter the competition. In an interview with EY, the nominated entrepreneurs and their companies are then subject to a full review. The jury uses the facts and assessments from this process to select the finalists. In 2016, 15 were chosen from a group of 49. Finally, the jury itself visits the potential winners and their premises to assesses the candidates’ and their companies’ accomplishments as entrepreneurs, their business performance, innovation, leadership, future capability, and overall contribution to society. The jury then reaches a joint decision on the winners of the Entrepreneur Of The Year award.

A global competition

The EY Entrepreneur Of The Year competition is held around the world according to a standard set of criteria. Over 10,000 entrepreneurs in a total of 150 cities compete annually for the coveted title. This is the only competition of its kind. In early summer of the following year, an independent jury selects the World Entrepreneur Of The Year from among the national winners. Dr. Jan Lichtenberg, last year’s award winner in the “Emerging Entrepreneur” category, was the 2016 representative for Switzerland.

In 2016, the Entrepreneur Of The Year competition was held in Switzerland for the 19th time in a row. It is supported and assisted by its program partner Credit Suisse, and by its sponsors AMAG, watchmaker H. Moser & Cie., and SWISS.

The independent 2016 jury

  • Bernhard Alpstaeg, swisspor Management AG, Patron and Entrepreneur Of The Year 2007
  • Brigitte Breisacher, Alpnach Norm-Schrankelemente AG, Owner and Company Director of the Alpnach Norm Group
  • Claude R. Cornaz, Vetropack Holding AG, CEO and Entrepreneur Of The Year 2012
  • Dr. Beat Curti, entrepreneur
  • Prof. Edgar Fleisch, ETH Zurich and University of St. Gallen
  • Dr. Paul J. Hälg, Dätwyler Holding AG, CEO
  • Edouard Pfister, Sonceboz S.A., Chairman of the Board of Directors
  • Sébastien Tondeur, MCI Group Holding SA, CEO and Entrepreneur Of The Year 2011
  • Prof. Thomas Zellweger, University of St. Gallen, Director of the Center for Family Business

Photos of the winners can be downloaded from 10.30 pm on Friday, 28 October 2016 at www.ey.com/CH/en/Newsroom/News-releases.

Photos of the event can be downloaded from 4.00 pm on Saturday, 29 October 2016 at www.ey.com/ch/en/about-us/entrepreneurship/entrepreneur-of-the-year.


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EY’s organization is represented in Switzerland by Ernst & Young Ltd, Basel, with ten offices across Switzerland, and in Liechtenstein by Ernst & Young AG, Vaduz. In this publication, “EY” and “we” refer to Ernst & Young Ltd, Basel, a member firm of Ernst & Young Global Limited.