Luxembourg, 27 October 2016

Entrepreneur of the Year in Luxembourg: the six finalists just unveiled!

News release

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As announced at a press conference on 28 April 2016, EY Luxembourg is organizing this year, for the fifth time in Luxembourg, the Entrepreneur of the Year competition, which aims to unveil the exceptional story of entrepreneurs, women and men, based in Luxembourg.

Today, the jury of this renowned competition is pleased to congratulate the six finalists of this year’s edition of the Entrepreneur of the Year in Luxembourg’s competition, who are as follows (see annex for more details):

  • Michèle Detaille of ALIPA Group
  • Mike Koedinger of Maison Moderne
  • Arsène Laplume of Shopping Center Massen
  • Georges Lentz Jr of Brasserie Nationale
  • Rolf Sorg of PM International
  • Claude Wagner of CWA Group

This nomination is the result of a rigorous selection process of all the candidates to the Entrepreneur of the Year 2016 award, who had the opportunity, for those who were selected, to meet the EY professionals, who helped them establish a personalized diagnostic of their companies before providing the members of an independent jury with their sound business cases.


The jury

The independent jury of the « Entrepreneur of the Year 2016 Award » is composed of representatives of the economic world, who are recognized for their experience and their neutrality.

  • President of the Jury: Nicolas Buck – FEDIL
  • René Elvinger – Winner of the 2013 edition of the Entrepreneur of the Year
  • Jacques Hirtt – Fédération des Jeunes Dirigeants d’Entreprise
  • Fernand Ernster – Confédération Luxembourgeoise du Commerce
  • Gérard Hoffmann – ICTluxembourg
  • Tom Theves – Ministry of Economy


A unique award for entrepreneurs

“Through the Entrepreneur of the Year Award, EY aims to reward entrepreneurs who have displayed entrepreneurial and innovative spirit, an ingenious strategy of development, an excellent financial performance and an effective management of their human resources and their organization. Those entrepreneurs feed on confidence and cultivate the entrepreneurial spirit”, says Yves Even, Partner in charge of the Entrepreneur of the Year (EoY) - entrepreneurship/SME and family business department at EY Luxembourg.

Even more, “all the finalists of the Entrepreneur of the Year competition have the privilege to access the network of the Luxembourgish (EY Club Entrepreneurs) and French entrepreneurs (Académie des Entrepreneurs d’EY, a unique network of entrepreneurial forces), but also to participate in worldwide high-profile events (Strategic Growth forums, EY family roundtable, EY Family Summit),” says Christophe Gence, Assistant Director and Coordinator of the Entrepreneur of the Year (EoY) - entrepreneurship/SME and family business department at EY Luxembourg.

“With regard to this 2016 outstanding edition, it was particularly hard for our jury members to select the six finalists. This year’s edition included candidates with varied and exceptional backgrounds, with strong local and international anchorage and a significant representation of women,” summarizes Nicolas Buck, Chairman of the Entrepreneur of the Year 2016 edition.


The event’s Partners

Yves Even explains that “EY is very proud to organize this Entrepreneur of the Year 2016 edition in collaboration with highly recognized companies such as BGL BNP Paribas, Post Luxembourg, Luxemburger Wort, Audi, Lalux and the Chambre de Commerce du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, who have chosen to join the competition as official partners.

The Entrepreneur of the Year 2016 competition is also supported by the FEDIL Association, the Fédération des Jeunes Dirigeants d’Entreprise, the Confédération Luxembourgeoise du Commerce, ICTluxembourg, the Ministry of Economy, and RTL as a media partner.


A bit of history…

Launched 30 years ago (in 1986) by EY in the United States, the Entrepreneur of the Year Award has been organized in more than 150 cities, 70 countries and rewards more than 900 outstanding entrepreneurs every year. Today, the Entrepreneur of the Year competition is known as the most prestigious award assigned to entrepreneurs coming from all over the world.


The winner unveiled in December

The winner of the Entrepreneur of the Year 2016 edition in Luxembourg will be unveiled during a prestigious gala ceremony in the premises of EY Luxembourg on 12 December 2016.

The winner in Luxembourg will then have the privilege of competing for the World Entrepreneur of the Year competition which will take place in June 2017 in Monte-Carlo.


About EY

EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.
EY refers to the global organization and may refer to one or more of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organization, please visit

This news release has been issued by EYGM Limited, a member of the global EY organization that also does not provide any services to clients.

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Read this news release in French or in German.



Claude Wagner (CWA Group)


The group consists of three main activities:

  • Construction and DIY sector: Bati C, Batiself, Hoffmann Schwall, etc.
  • Distribution of sporting goods: Intersport, Citabel, S-Cape, etc.
  • Distribution of garden and kitchen furniture: Mobilier Jardin, Wolf-Moritz, etc.

All group stores are located and well known in Luxembourg and in the Great Region.

The entrepreneur:

Claude Wagner, a former banker, started from scratch and embarked on his entrepreneurial adventure with limited capital, to become a “serial” entrepreneur 16 years later. He is now leading a group of more than 800 professionals, of which he is the sole shareholder.

In 1992, he joined Batichimie as Administrative Director. In 2001, he acquired majority share in Batichimie – which has now become Bati C – and 100% in 2003.

In addition, as Claude Wagner was driven by an entrepreneurial spirit and a willingness to always move forward, he decided to create the CWA group in the early 2000s, which were marked by a series of creations, takeovers and acquisitions of several companies (partly mentioned above).

Claude Wagner is a passionate entrepreneur, who always looks towards the future, including expansion plans. He is close to his clients while trying to meet them as often as he can in the field.

He is also full of plans and always seeks for support from people with the right skills, who can help him focus on his expansion plans. He is a determined man who takes the right decisions at the right time.


Georges Lentz Jr (Brasserie Nationale Group)


The group is a leader in beer production and beverages distribution aimed at professionals and individuals located in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg.

The Brasserie Nationale group has expanded internationally thanks to Georges Lentz Jr’s initiatives and good partnerships over the past few years. New brands have been launched and have made it possible for the Brasserie Nationale group to strengthen its leadership position on the Luxembourg market.

The group revenues have been multiplied by 100 over the past 40 years. The group market share for beer in Luxembourg has increased from 12% in 1975 to 60% today. The quantity of beer sold in Luxembourg has been multiplied by 8 over the past 40 years.

The entrepreneur:

Georges Lentz Jr joined the family-owned Funck-Bricher Brewery in 1977. The merging of the company with Bofferding breweries two years before resulted in the creation of the Brasserie Nationale Group. Georges Lentz Jr is the ninth-generation owner of this brewery.

The three shareholder families of the Group quickly appointed Georges Lentz Jr to manage the operations for the new entity. In 1986, Georges Lentz, together with his father, bought all the shares from the two other families.

The group has always progressed over the past years and owes its success so far to several dynamic communication campaigns, which have allowed the group not only to improve its brand image and to expand its distribution network in the country, but also to capture the interest of an ever-growing population of expatriates working in Luxembourg.

Georges Lentz Jr has regularly invested to help bar owners to modernize their business or to highlight his own products for example. He has also diversified the products of the group and has taken over other companies, all of which has helped the Brasserie Nationale group to become a leader in beer production and beverages distribution on the local market, and beyond the borders.


Michèle Detaille (ALIPA Group)


This group is specialized in lifting and packaging solutions for the industry, while particularly manufacturing high quality products that ensure the safety of persons and property: whether we are speaking of boxes, industrial packaging, articulated lifting rings or lifting accessories. ALIPA‘s aim is to work together towards the goal of having zero-defect in their products.

Today the ALIPA group owns six companies and employs more than 120 people and operates in 3 countries:

  • NO-NAIL BOXES, AllPack Services, CODIPROLUX and LIFTEUROP in Wiltz (Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg)
  • WaluPack Services in Liège (Belgium)
  • STAS in Sartrouville (France)

The entrepreneur:

For Michèle Detaille « We can do it if we want to ».

After being Mayor of Vaux-sur-Sûre (near Bastogne in Belgium) for 18 years and then a member of parliament in Belgium, Mrs Detaille moved to the entrepreneurial adventure when she was 40.
As an employee of the Accor Group for 8 years, she was able to pursue the growth of her entrepreneurial project.

In 1996, she took over the No-Nail Boxes wood company, which was in good financial health, with great potential, international operations and profitable production, but with a low level of commercial development. Therefore, the new owner deployed two main initiatives focusing on the recruitment of a professional specialized in developing the French market and on obtaining certifications meeting with her clients’ requirements. The company immediately registered a very satisfactory growth coming from a product range carefully adapted to demand, the launch of new products and services, including packaging and logistic services.

Two new companies emerged. The takeover of Codipro then followed in 2004. This new company presented many similarities with the other businesses owned by Mrs Detaille: products easy to understand and an industrial mature market.

The ALIPA Group (All Lifting Packaging) was born.

The entrepreneur Michèle Detaille maintains a close relationship with all of her professionals and puts human beings at the center of her priorities. She is particularly involved in the Luxemburgish and Belgian economic ecosystem.


Rolf Sorg  (PM International)


PM International Group is characterized by an innovative business concept in the field of health, well-being and beauty through self-developed products (nutritious food supplements and cosmetics) for direct sale and material investments in research and development.

PM International is currently represented in over 30 countries, 24 subsidiaries and employs more than 450 professionals and 250,000 agents worldwide.

The group has experienced significant growth since Rolf Sorg’s takeover in 1993.

The entrepreneur:

Rolf Sorg started off as a car mechanic prior to joining “P.M. Cosmetics GmbH“. Fascinated by direct marketing, he established no less than 10 collaborative partnerships per month during his first three years in the company.

In 1993 he took over “P.M. Cosmetics GmbH“, the forerunner of today’s PM-International AG, when he was 30.

In addition to his interest in direct sales and business aspects, Rolf Sorg was interested in the field of health care and wanted to contribute to humanity. This was also driven by the poor health of his grandmother at the time he incorporated the company. Beside the research and development activity in this field, Rolf Sorg’s commitment is well reflected in several charity actions.

This German born CEO is still thrilled at the possibilities that open up to everyone in this business, independent of their personal background. It is still important to him today to live this business as a role model every day.

According to Rolf Sorg, we learn from our mistakes, which simultaneously enables us to acquire enough energy to create a business.


Mike Koedinger  (Maison Moderne)


Maison Moderne is a leader in publishing, communication and advertising in Luxembourg.

From more than 35 employees 8 years ago, the company now employs 90 people, which can be explained by the diversification of its activities over the last past years and an ambitious development strategy.

Divided into four departments, its activities include a publishing house, a communication agency specialised in content marketing, a sales agency and a business club.

Maison Moderne’s leading media brands include magazines Paperjam, Delano and Archiduc, the dining and food guide Explorator, as well as Flydoscope, the in-flight magazine published for airline company Luxair, or City, the official magazine published by the Ville de Luxembourg.

The entrepreneur:

While Mike’s fellow students got bored at school, he decided to take care of the school newspaper with his friends. But at the age of 18, when others were still studying, Mike Koedinger decided to stop his studies to devote himself to his new entrepreneurial adventure, while following his merchant parents’ precepts at the same time: “as long as you build efforts, you will be rewarded.”

After 6 years of publishing magazines & guides, without any salary, Mike Koedinger used his relationships network to create and launch the Explorator guide (in 1994), which still gives a good overview of restaurants and their chefs in Luxembourg: it was the beginning of Maison Moderne’s adventure.

Nightlife (in 1997) and Eldoradio then followed. Those two media outlets were the first to be dedicated to young people, long before Facebook. It was at that point that he met an old school friend who was studying 3D, they both decided to create a new publication dedicated to business men in Luxembourg and entitled the “Guide du Multimédia”, which became Paperjam three years later (in 2000). Since that time, they have never separated.

Maison Moderne quickly ascended, mainly characterized by product and services launches, new orientations and of course new partners and professionals.

Mike Koedinger should be seen as a self-made man, who has been able to get his ideas off the ground. He had the courage to give up his studies in order to develop innovative concepts, drawing on his friends support to determine the best drivers of growth for his company.

Mike Koedinger has been fully involved in the destiny of his company, as he has been able to enforce a set of measures that has ensured the sustainability of his company.


Arsène Laplume  (Massen Shopping Center)


Massen is a modern shopping center which is 18,000 square meters in size, composed of a supermarket of 5,000 square meters, 7 restaurants, 32 shops, 2 petrol stations and a car wash center. Massen employs 450 people in total today.

The entrepreneur:

Arsène Laplume, CEO of Massen S.A. has had an atypical career.

As a farmer’s son, he was fascinated by technical projects and is graduated in agricultural machinery. After he left a government job, he joined the family firm Massen S.A. specialized in agricultural machines and scrap steel, to become the right-hand man of his father-in-law Joe Massen, who opened intensively petrol stations as he wanted to diversify the company. In 1987, Arsène Laplume took over the company which was in financial difficulty at the time.

As soon as he started to run the company, Massen S.A. experienced a rapid transformation, as it became a real company, not controlled by a unique patriarch anymore, but by several managers, including an HR Director and a manager for all services (supermarket, petrol station, communication, finance, catering).

The company is located exclusively in Wemperhardt has experienced a tremendous economic upturn.

Arsène Laplume is not only a self-taught man, but also a passionate man who is always looking for innovative solutions and service offerings. He is a great leader, who has been able to create a profitable, effective and quality-oriented shopping center concept, which attracts clients from Luxembourg and beyond the borders.

Since 1987, the Massen company has been involved in an ongoing process of:

  • Product and service quality,
  • Innovation, as Massen has always looked for quality, new and service-oriented ideas,
  • Excellence, as the company’s goal has always been to improve and find new solutions, while remaining consistent in his strategy related to food products, distribution and catering.