EY Luxembourg organised the 2013 Entrepreneur of the Year award ceremony on 2 December 2013, during which the winner of this edition – René Elvinger of Cebi International S.A. group - was unveiled to the public. The 5 other finalists were Ada and Olivier Amengual of Aero S.A., Norbert Friob of Prefalux, Ferdinand Hein and Pierre Thein of Hein, René Grosbusch of Marcel Grosbusch & fils and Christiane Wickler of Pall Center Exploitation S.A.. They have been chosen for their exceptional entrepreneurial and innovation spirit, their ingenious development strategy, their dynamism and determination to succeed and to ensure the sustainability of their company. René Elvinger will then be invited, on June 2014 in Monte Carlo, to the world competition, where, among the winners of the 50 other participating countries, he will represent entrepreneurship in Luxembourg.
Cebi International S.A.
The Cebi International S.A. group is the result of the merger of Sogemi and Cebi International in 1994. The Cebi International S.A. group specialises in the production of components for the automotive, business units, industrial and residential industries. The company has moved into the ranks of the global leaders in many areas including wash pumps and systems and temp sensors. As a successful CEO, René Elvinger took over the presidency of the Cebi group in July 2011 and enabled the group to deal with the crisis which has severely affected the automotive industry.
The company has registered a continuous growth over the last past years, which has been an exceptional performance in the present economic environment.
As a fervent supporter of the Luxembourg attractiveness, considering the industrial production as a key economic sector, René Elvinger is also a member of several professional associations like ILEA, FEDIL or the Haut Comité pour le soutien, le développement et la promotion de l’industrie. According to René Elvinger, the future of the Luxembourgish industry lies in the promotion of the entrepreneurship to our young generation.
Rewarding entrepreneurship in Luxembourg
During the award ceremony, Alain Kinsch, Managing Partner of EY Luxembourg, was pleased to make an introductory speech about the relevance and the need to reward entrepreneurship in Luxembourg through a prestigious gala ceremony in front of an audience of approximately 300 people. "We are very proud, through this competition, to unveil the exceptional story of entrepreneurs, women and men, who nurture confidence and the entrepreneurial spirit and demonstrate how important it is to progress, to innovate and to create value and jobs as they are the main drivers of our economic growth", said Alain Kinsch. "We have the strong commitment to raising awareness of the general public on the need to support entrepreneurship and to encourage our young generation to learn from experienced entrepreneurs, and to embark on the entrepreneurship adventure. This is mainly the reason why we have decided to organise this program in Luxembourg. There is some talent in our country, which relies on entrepreneurs to take risks and to contribute to the attractiveness of our country", said Yves Even, EY Partner in charge of the Entrepreneur of the Year program in Luxembourg.
During the award ceremony, Robert Dennewald, who is the President of the 2013 Entrepreneur of the Year’s edition, highlighted the reasons which motivated the jury members to select the winner who impressed them by his vision, the financial performance of his company, his ability to rebound in a difficult economic environment and to give an international direction to his company and his ability to manage his human resources. "We are very proud to reward René Elvinger tonight, who had the courage to acquire the buy-out management of an international group, at an age when people would prefer to retire", said Robert Dennewald.
The Special Jury Award
With regard to this outstanding edition, it was decided to complement the Entrepreneur of the Year 2013 award in Luxembourg with a "Special Jury Award" presented by BGL BNP Paribas Wealth Management. The winner of this Special Jury Award is Norbert Friob of Prefalux. "For this Special Jury Award 2013, we have decided to take the whole entrepreneurial life of the winner into consideration, not only including successful periods but also any times of difficulty he had to face or to turn into business success", said Gary Kneip, Member of the jury. "We are delighted to honor the entrepreneurial spirit through our Special Jury Award given to Norbert Friob, who can pride himself for having set up several successful companies such as Prefalux, which has become a leading company in timber engineering and interior finishing and which currently employs 260 collaborators", added Gary Kneip.
For more than 30 years, Norbert Friob has been strongly committed, in addition to his work, to intensively promoting the entrepreneurial spirit at all educational levels and in all national and regional professional organisations. The Entrepreneur of the Year competition has been an exceptional forum for Norbet Friob, who –through his experience of "serial entrepreneur" and his actions - has decided to submit his application to send a positive message: "Do not only be indignant, be committed preferably".
Gary Kneip added: "Our winner of the Special Jury Award is also a key representative of the Luxembourg company owners with about 30 social mandates on his record, as he tirelessly defends social interests with particular focus on SMEs and promotes entrepreneurship to our young generation so that it takes its future in charge and become entrepreneurs in turn. Norbert Friob is also a team player who was able to surround with friends, partners and devoted and qualified employees that he was happy to help them blossom. Here is one of his most striking human features in addition to his exceptional competencies in terms of business or financial management."
The jury of the Entrepreneur of the Year 2013
The jury of the Entrepreneur of the Year 2013 edition was chaired by Robert Dennewald, president of the FEDIL, and composed of George Muller (Fédération des Jeunes Dirigeants d’Entreprise), Jacques Lanners (Ceratizit S.A., winner of the previous edition), Tom Theves (Ministry of Economy) and Gary Kneip (Confédération Luxembourgeoise du Commerce).
The selection of a winner is the result of a rigorous selection process of all the candidates to the Entrepreneur of the Year award that started last June. 38 applications of exceptional quality were submitted, and 19 of them were selected to meet the EY professionals, who helped them establish a personalised diagnostic of their companies before providing the members of an independent jury with their sound business cases.
EY organises this Entrepreneur of the Year 2013 edition in collaboration with Audi, BGL BNP Paribas and Le Foyer, who are this year’s official sponsors, and also supported by the Ministry of the Economy, the Fédération des Jeunes Dirigeants d’Entreprise, the FEDIL Business Federation Luxembourg, the Confédération Luxembourgeoise du Commerce and the Chamber of Commerce in Luxembourg.
From left to right: Yves Even, Partner, EY Luxembourg / Alain Kinsch, Country Managing Partner, EY Luxembourg / Norbert Friob, Prefalux, Special Jury Award / René Elvinger, Cebi International SA, Entrepreneur of the Year 2013 / Robert Dennewald, FEDIL, President of the Jury.