“I believe that František Piškanin will successfully represent Czech entrepreneurs at the world finals in Monte Carlo and that his business story will impress the judges there as much as it impressed us,” saysMagdalena Souček, Country Managing Partner of Ernst & Young in the Czech Republic, adding: “The aim of the Entrepreneur Of The Year award is to support business development in our country and to make the word ‘entrepreneur’ respectable again. The competition nominees lead firms that have succeeded in the face of stiff competition and complex economic conditions. They share a sense of honesty and place emphasis on business ethics, diligence, responsibility and humility. And perhaps it is these very qualities that have kept them among the best and make them worthy of our respect.”
If you ever do your shopping in a supermarket, then most of your items will have been delivered by František Piškanin’s firm. And yet when František began his business activities he had nothing. He opened a small grocery shop in Karlovy Vary in 1992. He had the idea of providing comprehensive quality services for supranational chains and Czech and international production firms with the support of his lifelong mentor, Mr Houdek. These days the HOPI logistics and transport group is one of the largest players in Central and Eastern Europe, employs more than 3,300 people in the CR, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland and Romania, and is planning to start business in Austria. This is a purely Czech family firm that, in František’s words, has a Czech heart and an international body. It provides its comprehensive logistics services to the most important international and Czech companies, including P&G, Makro, Metro, Unilever, Billa, Tesco, Ahold, Kraft Foods, Nestle, Agrofert, Bohemia Sekt, Nutricia, Emco and many others. At present it is consolidating its no. 1 position in Central Europe in the logistics of frozen products by constructing further freezer plants. During the time it has existed HOPI has contributed almost CZK 5 billion to the state budget. HOLLANDIA and Agro Otročín also belong to the HOPI group. František is pleased that his sons also work for the company. He believes that a family approach, combined with unique knowhow, is the competitive advantage enjoyed by HOPI. In his free time he remains active and devotes himself to his foundation, lectures, is a member of many associations, and enjoys riding a motorbike, tractor and rallying. Don´t worry, be HOPI.
The other Entrepreneur Of The Year finalists were:
The winner of the Technology Entrepreneur Of The Year award for 2012 is Karel Volenec of ELLA-CS, s.r.o., a company that owns many Czech and international patents and is at present the only global manufacturer of unique medical devices: a degradable truss (stent), the Danis stent for stopping variceal bleeding, and an extractor that every year protects thousands of lives and is lauded the world over.
Ernst & Young and the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship this year presented the Social Entrepreneur Of The Year award to Robert Schönfeld of the International School of Music and Fine Arts. Eva Katrušáková of the organization Every Czech Reads to Kids was voted a finalist in the competition Social Entrepreneur Of The Year 2012.
This year the judging panel decided to award a special prize for an exceptional contribution. The prize was won by Zuzana Ceralová Petrofová of PETROF, spol. s r.o., the world famous Czech manufacturer of grand and upright pianos, for its ability to maintain the tradition of the production of musical instruments in the Czech Republic.
The recipient of the MF DNES and iDNES.cz Reader’s Award for the “Best business story” is Helena Bednářová of Centrin CZ s.r.o. A private organisation Centrin CZ s.r.o. provides long- and short-term residential social services to senior citizens.
The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2011 competition is open to any company owner or manager with a 25 % or more ownership interest in the company, or a co-owner of a public company who is primarily responsible for its performance and is an active member of top management. The company must be at least 2 years old and employ at least 10 people.
The competition is co-organised by the daily newspaper MF Dnes and iDNES.cz. The competition partners are Accredio, Raiffeisenbank and g82. Support is also provided by the CzechInvest Agency, the TUESDAY Business Network, the Czech Venture Capital Association, the US Business School Prague and the Schwab Foundation. The media partners are the magazine FORBES, the weekly EURO, and Czech Radio Radiožurnál. The competition is held under the auspices of the Economic Chamber of the Czech Republic.
When reaching its decisions the judging panel abides by international rules. The main evaluation criteria include strategic orientation, global reach, and of course a company’s financial results, which are a clear indicator of the health and future prospects of a firm. The evaluation process is complex and as well as financial data takes into account the personality of the competitor and their business story. The members of the judging panel also examine the business spirit of each nominee, their honesty and fairness, and their activities outside the company in society at large or the region.