Press release

8 Sep 2021 Zurich, CH

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2021: The finalists from German and French-speaking Switzerland have been chosen

Zurich, 08 September 2021. The finalists from twelve Swiss companies have been nominated for this year's EY Entrepreneur Of The Year. With the award ceremony, EY 2021 is honoring innovative and exceptional entrepreneurial achievements in particularly challenging times. The awards will be presented in four categories on October 29 as part of a hybrid gala event.

  • The finalists from twelve Swiss companies have been nominated for this year's EY Entrepreneur Of The Year. 
  • With the award ceremony, EY 2021 is honoring innovative and exceptional entrepreneurial achievements in particularly challenging times.  
  • The awards will be presented in four categories on October 29 as part of a hybrid gala event.


The 14 entrepreneurial personalities for this year's EY Entrepreneur Of The Year have been announced today in Switzerland. A total of 36 companies applied for this program in 2021 and the independent jury has now decided who will be in the final in the various entrepreneurial categories for the “EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2021” on October 29.  

Sascha Stahl, Program Partner of the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Switzerland comments: “We are proud to have been promoting outstanding entrepreneurship in Switzerland for almost 25 years. We and the independent jury have been working since April of this year to nominate the finalists announced today. We are impressed by the innovative and committed entrepreneurial personalities present in Switzerland, which is remarkable in these particularly challenging times."  

Frédéric Tissot, Director of Entrepreneurship & Family Enterprise Suisse romande at EY, adds: "We are very pleased that we have been able to appoint finalists from German and French-speaking Switzerland again this year in the four categories, all of whom would deserve to win the award in 2021."

The awards are given in the categories “Industry, High-Tech & Life Sciences”, “Services & Trade”, “Family Business” and “Emerging Entrepreneur”. The following personalities and companies have been nominated for the finals: 

“Industry, High-Tech & Life Sciences” Category 

Brigitte Breisacher, Alpnach Schränke + Küchen, Alpnach (OW) 
Brigitte Breisacher is the second generation to manage her father's company, which he founded in 1966 from a carpenter's workshop. Today, Alpnach Schränke is the leading specialist for storage furniture and made-to-measure kitchens in Switzerland. Around 40,000 cabinets and around 2,000 kitchens are made entirely in Switzerland, from advice, through production and on to assembly. Brigitte Breisacher is being honored as a finalist for her tireless, passionate and authentic commitment as a Swiss entrepreneur.  

Christian Ammann, Giants Software, Schlieren (ZH) 

Christian Ammann and Stefan Geiger founded Giants Software in a shared flat in 2008 with the aim of developing their own games. Their Farming Simulator is becoming a great success, making it into the top 50 of all games worldwide, one of the few without violence. 25 million copies are in use on PC, mobile devices and consoles in over 60 countries. The jury is honoring Christian Ammann's highly successful pioneering work in an industry that reaches and moves an incredible number of people.  

Carlo R. Centonze, HeiQ, Schlieren (ZH) 
In 2005 Carlo Centonze and Murray Height founded HeiQ Materials as an ETH spin-off. Since then, the company has been an innovator in the textile sector and has developed so-called “functional materials”, such as substances that kill viruses or filter oil from seawater. In 2020 HeiQ went public on the London Stock Exchange. Carlo Centonze is being honored as a finalist for his persistent ingenuity, which has brought him from startup to international innovator.  

“Services & Trade” Category

Stefan Muff, Axon Active, Lucerne
Stefan Muff founded Axon Active in 2008 as a developer and tester of software with a focus on digital transformation. His first company was the geospatial data provider Endoxon, which he sold in 2006 – now known as Google Maps. The principle is always the same: Bundled  knowledge, technology and resources for the development of digital systems. With Stefan Muff, the jury is honoring a visionary and the designer of an ecosystem in the IT industry that is seldom found in this country.  

Karl Müller & Claudio Minder, Joya Schuhe, Roggwil (TG) 
Karl Müller and Claudio Minder founded Joya Schuhe Holding in 2007 as a specialist in fashionable comfort shoes. Today Joya makes the softest shoe in the world, an orthopedically accepted innovation in soft walking. Two million pairs of Joya shoes have now been sold in 40 countries at over 1,600 retailers. Karl Müller and Claudio Minder have been chosen as finalists because they have successfully brought comfort shoes out of the orthopedic corner.  

Marc Aeschlimann, Smood, Plan-les-Ouates (GE)
Restaurants in Paris that practically deliver their dishes to the home via a courier inspired Marc Aeschlimann to found Smood in 2012. Today Smood is "The Swiss Food Delivery App" par excellence, which delivers the food from your favorite restaurant contactlessly and hygienically to your home, office or other location in less than 45 minutes. More than 1,800 restaurants are connected to the delivery service, making Smood the market leader in Switzerland. The jury is honoring Marc Aeschlimann as a finalist because he is breaking new ground in retail and gastronomy, which is invaluable, especially in times like these.  

“Family Business” Category

Rudenz Egli, Egli Process Technology, Bütschwil (SG)
At the age of 26 Rudenz Egli is the fourth generation to take over his father's business. Egli AG has been producing components and then entire systems for butter production since 1888. Today Egli is the world market leader for butter production systems, of which 99% are exported, straight from the heart of Toggenburg. Rudenz Egli is being honored as a finalist because, as a Swiss medium-sized company, he has managed to become a world market leader. 

Markus Gericke, Gericke Group, Regensdorf (ZH)
In 1894 Walter H. Gericke founded a mill construction company that Markus Gericke was able to take over after four generations in family hands. Today the company stands for total solutions for the processing of bulk goods, i.e. the conveying, dosing, mixing and control of powders and grains. Gericke is active in 12 locations worldwide and stands for Swiss values in engineering and machine construction. Markus Gericke is being honored as a finalist because his commitment is maintaining a tradition for which Switzerland is valued and admired all over the world.  


Christoph Häring, Häring & Co. AG, Eiken (AG) 
The Häring Group has been family-owned for 140 years and is run by Christoph Häring in its fourth generation. The company stands for innovative construction systems using the local and energy-independent raw material wood. With a production site in China and an office in Singapore, the Häring Group is exporting its know-how of high-performance construction systems. The jury is honoring Christoph Häring for his innovative ideas, but also for the successful handling of complex family structures, which he has brought together masterfully.  

"Emerging Entrepreneur" Category 

Lukas Böni & Pascal Bieri, Planted Foods, Kemptthal (ZH)
Together with two other colleagues, Lukas Böni and Pascal Bieri founded Planted Foods in 2019. The startup creates vegetable meat from peas, which is even more sustainable than alternative raw materials and methods. After two years, the startup is already generating strong sales, has two financing rounds behind it and operates in three countries – an impressive start. The Planted team is being honored as a finalist because it knows how to implement a highly relevant topic in an extremely agile, forward-looking and successful manner.  

Alisée de Tonnac, Seedstars, Carouge (GE)
Seedstars was founded in 2012 by Alisée de Tonnac with the aim of transforming living conditions in emerging countries with technology and entrepreneurship. Alisée de Tonnac pursues this goal with great commitment to this day and has created an ecosystem that imparts knowledge, education and capital. The core of this is an international corporate competition that connects 90 ecosystems from Lagos to Bogotà to Karachi in an international network. Alisée de Tonnac is being honored as a finalist because her commitment to entrepreneurship across borders is exemplary and ties in with a great Swiss tradition. 

Simon Ittig, T3 Pharmaceuticals, Basel 
In 2015 a team of experts around Simon Ittig founded T3 Pharmaceuticals with the aim of fighting cancer. T3's research is breaking new ground in cancer treatment with living bacteria that work directly inside the cells of the tumor. This self-reinforcing therapy, which spreads within tumors, will be tested clinically this year. The jury is honoring the team and Simon Ittig for its groundbreaking approach in a research area that is highly regarded worldwide. 

The Entrepreneur Of The Year Gala on October 29, 2021 is also designed as a hybrid event this year, with 250 invited guests in the Samsung Hall in Dübendorf and a large number of virtually connected participants around the globe.  

About the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2021 Award: 

  • An eleven-member jury is responsible for evaluating the finalists and awarding the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2021 award. It examines the candidates itself and independently of EY. 
  • The awards ceremony for the 24th Swiss edition of the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year will take place on Friday, October 29 in Dübendorf.
  • EY Switzerland will be supported in the Entrepreneur Of The Year program in 2021 by Credit Suisse as program partner and AMAG, Bucherer and SWISS as sponsors. 
  • Further details are available at


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