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Ernst & Young awards Swiss entrepreneurs

Peter A. Schifferle, CEO of Abrasives Holding AG, winner of the Industrie/ High-tech category (E&Y)

Ernst & Young, the auditing and corporate consulting company, has awarded three Swiss managers with its Entrepreneur Of The Year award.

The industry/high tech award went to Peter A. Schifferle, CEO and member of the board SIA Abrasives Holding AG in Frauenfeld.

This is the fifth time that the awards have taken place in Switzerland.

The three were chosen for their ingenuity and perseverance, the marks of a successful entrepreneur, according to E&Y.

Schifferle took lead of 130-year-old firm in the early nineties and managed a tremendous turnaround. A boost of capital from CapVis Equity Partners in 1997 enabled an MBO.

The company is now number three worldwide and employs 1100 people. It is the first publicly traded company to win the award.

Start-up category winner this year is Waldemar Kubli, CEO and co-founder of Autoform in Zurich. The company has 200 customers worldwide in the automobile design and manufacturing industry and employs 80 people.

In the Trade/Service category, the award went to Markus Oberholzer, First Catering Produktion AG in Bassersdorf and Accra (Ghana).

Past winners

Earlier winners include, Fides P. Baldesberger, President and CEO rubis Switzerland, makers of fine industrial and cosmetic tweezers, one of the few women to win the award.

The 2001 startup winner, Dieter Trissler CEO of The Bee Company did not have a very good year - his firm went into liquidation earlier in the year.

The 2000 startup entrepreneur of the year award winner did rather better. Wolfgang A. Renner saw his company Cytos Biotechnology, the darling of the venture capital scene in Switzerland, recently go public on the SWX via a reverse merger.

Entrepreneur Of The Year

The Entrepreneur Of The Year award was created in the US in a single Midwestern city by Ernst & Young in 1986 to honour entrepreneurs whose personalities were behind successful, growing business ventures.

Now the awards are underway in more than 100 countries worldwide. The programme aims to honour successful entrepreneurs and bring to the public's attention "role models for the aspiring entrepreneurs of tomorrow".

Jury members for Switzerland included, Susan Kish of First Tuesday AG, Zurich, Andreas N. Koopmann of Bobst Group SA, Prilly VD, Jane Royston Professor Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the EPFL and University of Geneva, and Peter Wagner Vontobel Holding AG, among others.

Valerie Thompson


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