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The Entrepreneur of the Year programme in 2015:Entrepreneurs change the world

The Entrepreneur of the Year programme, a trademark of EY, the only global entrepreneurial programme of its kind, continued its series with 2015's edition

2015-12-06 17:41:07 - From the Print Edition

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At its global size, the process consists of EY selecting an Entrepreneur of the Year in more than 60 countries and 145 cities worldwide, covering more than 94 per cent of the global economy. National winners enter the global selection for World Entrepreneur of the Year, and the title is awarded at an international gala ceremony held every year in Monte Carlo.
Starting with 2014, EY provides the opportunity for entrepreneurs in Romania to participate in the largest and most renowned global business project dedicated to entrepreneurs, developed by the company in 1992. In 2015 EY is once again on the lookout for people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement.
The 2015 edition of the competition in Romania scored 60 businessmen, up from 50 in the first edition held last year. 48 Romanian entrepreneurs remained in the national competition after verification of eligibility conditions, compared to 40 entrepreneurs in 2014. The companies of eligible entrepreneurs income total 1.2 billion Euro and 9,000 employees, middle-income 27 million Euro of the company and an average number of 200 employees in 2014. Entrepreneurs have developed companies in sectors ranging from consumer products, agriculture and construction, to professional services, technology, and telecommunications.
Since 2014, the EY Entrepreneur of the Year competition, the only global competition dedicated to entrepreneurs, also takes place in Romania. EY Entrepreneur of the Year rewards entrepreneurs on the vision and strategic direction on their businesses, for the power of innovation, personal integrity and, not least, on the positive impact on the community.
"Entrepreneurs are those who perceive opportunities where others see obstacles, and therefore contribute more than any other group to the economy and to job creation. I would like to congratulate all 48 winners and competitors alike, for the vision, and passion invested in the businesses they have developed," said Bogdan Ion, country managing partner, EY Romania.
"We were glad to see the willingness of entrepreneurs to inspire young Romanians to pursue their own aspirations, and the desire to see Romania put on the map of global entrepreneurship. The vast majority of businesses competing have grown organically on their own, but we saw an interest in increasingly large expansion in foreign markets - regional, European or even global," said Alexandru Lupea, partner and Strategic Growth Markets leader EY Romania.
In selecting the winners, the jury examined each application based on six criteria: entrepreneurial spirit, financial performance, strategic direction, community impact, innovation, and personal integrity capability. The jury which established the competition finalists and chose the Entrepreneur of the Year winners is composed of leaders of the business community in Romania: Mircea Tudor, MB Telecom president, the grand prize winner in 2014 - president of the Jury, Marius Stefan, CEO Autonomous Rent a Car and one of the six finalists of the first edition of Entrepreneur of the Year Romania, Mihai Marcu, president Medlife, jury member at the 2014 edition of the competition; Cornel Marian, Oresa Ventures managing partner, member of the jury and the 2014 edition of the competition and Omer Tetik, general director Banca Transilvania, a member of the jury and the 2014 edition of the competition.

LEVENTE HUGO BARA General Manager, Supremia Grup, EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2015

The title of EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2015 went to Levente Hugo Bara, manager of Supremia Grup as he will be representing Romania at Monte Carlo, in the World Entrepreneur of the Year final. Bara was appointed winner on the 12 of November at a gala ceremony, in which he competed alongside 47 other business leaders under the EY Romania programme. He will represent Romania at the EY World Entrepreneur of the Year world final, in which will compete with entrepreneurs from over 60 countries.
Supremia Group is the number one food ingredients market in Romania and is also one of the major players on the European market. The group has 280 employees on four continents and it exports raw material purchases from 80 countries. Turnover has already reached 35 million Euro in 2015 and Bara is estimating a turnover of 38 million by the end of the year.
The story of Supremia Grup started in 2001, when Bara signed the first invoice. After five years of growth, the company moved into a new office in Alba-Iulia and developed the largest food ingredients facility in South-Eastern Europe, following an investment of nine million Euro. In 2013, a new production line for mixing and packaging was installed and increased the plant capacity by 50 per cent. In order to support this development, Supremia delivers three to four new products each month and 15 engineers are dedicated to this task. One of the GM's plan is to develop an innovation centre for food industry worth 3.65 million Euro, on 2,000 sqm.
Additionally, Bara sponsors each year the organization of a camp dedicated to children and supports training and practicing sessions for 20-25 students through the programme called "Start in career". He is also co-founder of the German Professional School in Alba-Iulia and the main sponsor for Romania Scouts, Alba section.
The company was founded in 2001, operates in food industry, with 280 professional staff.

DAN ISAI, CEO, Salad Box, Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year

At the ceremony attended by over 200 representatives of the business community, Dan Isai, CEO of Salad Box, was named Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year. Salad Box, the company created by Isai in 2012, is currently the third ranking fast-food restaurant chain in Romania by size. In 2015, Salad Box revenues are expected to reach 14 million Euro. This comes after 2014 when the company sales were of 8.6 million Euro. For the next period, the company′s strategy will focus on expanding the business both domestically and abroad, Salad Box already being present on the Hungarian and German markets.
Currently, Salad Box is the third fast-food chain in Romania by size and the potential expansion estimated by the manager is 60 locations. The company developed in only three years since launch and runs now in 40 locations in 20 Romanian cities.
The company was founded in 2012, operates in HoReCa, with 400 professional staff.

CRISTIAN ISPAS, General Manager, Motivation, Social Entrepreneur of the YeaR

With a turnover of 2.8 million Euro and profit of 0.67 million in 2014 Motivation SRL provides a quarter of the budget to the same-name Foundation. In 2014, Motivation SRL sold through 15 regional teams 1,186 wheelchairs to disabled people nationally, almost double compared to 2010. The profit Motivation is generating is invested in the development of programmes for increasing integration and inclusion in the community of disabled persons. Until 2009, the company produced tailor-made equipment for disabled persons. Currently, since the local production doesn't cover the costs, the foundation imports wheelchairs from Sweden, Germany, Poland or China and adjusts them to the local market for the needs of their beneficiaries. The manager currently runs talks with various associations and investors in Bulgaria and the Republic of Moldova in order to implement a similar business model on these markets.
The foundation was launched in 2001, operates services for disabled persons, 97 employed.

VASILE ARMEAN, General Manager, Betty Ice

The ice-cream producer reports yearly revenues of 20 million Euro and 800 employees, being a leader in the local market. The company's growth rates climbed to 50 per cent during 2004-2007 and even 100 per cent during 2000-2004. Besides Romania, the producer also operates in markets such as Republic of Moldova, Ukraine and since last year, also in Hungary. The company has been launched with a capital of 35,000 Euro and a loan accessed on the Austrian financial market, besides internal funds of the investor. The owner said that the company financed only from credits and its own funds in the first ten years, all the profits being reinvested. In the past three years of business, the company reached a turnover of 20.12 million Euro, being influenced by consumer's seasonal behaviour. Countrywide, Betty Ice runs 14 offices countrywide and a production facility opened in 2003.
The company was founded in 1994, operates in food industry, 800 professional staff.

Marinela Dragoi and Ion Dragoi, Executive President, Pet Star Holding

Pet Star Holding, the national leader of PET preforms processing for seven years, prepares to also become a regional leader, following a major investment completed this year. Beyond the financial performance exceeding 100 million Euro worth of turnover in the past three years, the two entrepreneurs are proud to have changed the mentalities related to the local PET market. Thus, applying new technologies and experimental methods, they have managed to decrease the weight achieved within the preforms production, without lowering the quality of the final product. The successful family business began with an idea of Marinela Dragoi in his 1994 thesis, sustained at the Institute of Economic Studies in Craiova. After a period of research, the company started as a business in PET packaging in 1997 and afterwards, in 2003, the production was extended to same type preforms.
The company was founded in 2000, operates in industrial products field,105 professional staff

Horatiu Tepes, CEO, BILKA Steel

BILKA Steel specializes in the production and distribution of complete roofing systems in Romania. The company has seen accelerated growth since its establishment eight years ago, reaching a turnover of 30 million Euro in 2014, at an average growth rate of 40 per cent in the last five years. Now, one in four roofs that are sold in Romania is Bilka branded and the company is a leader in the residential sector, industrial sector and targets also the industrial halls segment. Bilka covered more than 70,000 homes from 2007 to today and it is a leader in the segment of complete roofing systems in Romania. After opening the business in 2007, BILKA incomes increased from 500,000 Euro to five million Euro in 2008. The tenfold increase boosted the manager′s trust to diversify its business, from distribution of roofing systems (roofing sheets, rainwater systems and accessories) towards production. In 2009, the company completed the first project worth approximately 100,000 Euro. In 2015, Bilka completed the implementation of its sixth European project.
The company was founded in 2008, operates production and distribution of construction materials, 160 professional staff.


Te-Prod Rox registers the highest production capacity of seats and accessories for children′s car seats in Europe, with 98 per cent of production being exported to 52 countries in Europe, North America, South America and Asia. In 2011, following investments worth six million Euro, the company reached a turnover of 20 million Euro, representing an increase of 89 times in just four years of operation. Last year, in 2014, the company turnover was estimated at 21.4 million Euro, while profit was 0.8 million Euro. At present, the company produces 16,000 items every day, with the capacity to deliver 1,200 models, by operating five production facilities in Eastern Romania in cities such as Iasi, Pascani, Roman and Botosani. It owns 60 per cent of the French market segment for car seats for children and also has a significant market share in the UK and Germany. After the first year of activity, the managers cancelled the Lohn production and now, they are producing under a license of global retailers and designers such as Ferrari, Nania, Lidl, Disney, Fisher Price, Kiddicare, and Carrefour.
The company was founded in 2007, operates in industry production of child car seats, 1,100 professional staff

FLORIN MADAR, General Manager, Grupul Temad

Temad Group grew organically by diversifying its business model, comprising companies active in the distribution of auxiliary materials for building and construction (Temad Co), manufacturing (Temad Manufacturing, founded in 2013, manufactures mesh fibreglass) and power generation (Temad Energy - photovoltaic power plant, established also in 2013). The group achieved in 2014 a turnover of 30.4 million Euro and a profit of 2.5 million Euro, with a team of 270 employees. The business peak of Temad business was registered between 2000 and 2008, when the increases of 20-30 per cent were not surprising. The business started back in 1993 from a two-room apartment and a deposit of materials arranged in a garage of 25 sqm. Then came the "romantic period" as Florin Madar recalls, referring to the years until 2000, with unclear times, little knowledge of business and shaky economic environment. In these ten years, Florin has grown as an entrepreneur, learning from all the players in the field, carefully noting each wheel that moved the market. Since 2000, Florin Madar remained the sole shareholder in the company and the change was perceived as a dramatic one: "It was a psychological shock to me, but I was motivated and I started again from the beginning. In 2000, the business was shaped according to my vision, built within the past eight years spent with my associates. If at first, it was a struggle to survive in the market, after two to three years, I started to think about growth and expansion," said Florin Madar.
The company was founded in 1993, operates distribution and production of construction material, 500 professional staff


Vivre Deco is the largest online shop for furniture and decoration in Central and Eastern Europe, active in Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, Croatia and Poland. Currently, Vivre Deco records more than 40,000 orders per month, resulting in hundreds of thousands of daily site visits and over 1.5 million registered users. In 2014, the online sales exceeded 17 million Euro, representing an increase of 260 per cent of the business, compared to 2013. Monica Cadogan became an entrepreneur at 23 years old, soon after her graduation. Therefore, like many young entrepreneurs, the professional experience helped her to grow more than the life experience of that time. In 2005, she founded an NGO dedicated to environmental conservation in the Danube Delta and became president of the Natural Association; In 2006, she started to facilitate business development activities between Romania and Bulgaria, as well as between Romania and Ukraine, and currently she is a member of the Board of the Bulgarian-Romanian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. In 2014, Monica involved as member of the Board of the association called Help Autism.
The company was founded in 2012, operates in e-commerce and employs 143 professional staff.

PHILIP COX, Co-OWNER, Export Manager, Recas Cellars

Philip Cox came to Romania in 1991, being sent by the company where he was working, in order to prospect the local advertising market. He soon realized that there are many opportunities, especially in terms of establishing the first private companies of the emerging Romanian business environment. And he never thought twice of investing all his money in the local import business. He was then only 23 years old. Now, Recas Cellars are the largest exporters of wine in Romania, with 20-30 per cent of the total export volume of the country, and one of the largest local producers. Recas wines reach 24 countries worldwide. Recas activity translates into sales of 25 million Euro in 2014 and a profit of 5.3 million Euro, from sales of ten million bottles of wine and six million litres of bulk wine. The product range includes 58 types of wine under 250 labels and 95 per cent of production is harvested mechanically. The company is the most profitable producer of wine in Romania, with the highest growth rates in the industry for ten years. Philip Cox is counting on continued growing strong sales in the upcoming years, up to 50 million Euro.
The company was founded in 1992, operates wine industry, employees 213 professional staff.

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