EDHEC Entrepreneur of the Year

The Entrepreneur of the Year prize is awarded to an Edhec entrepreneur who has decided to take a leap into the unknown and has contributed to EDHEC’s image as a creator of talent and by his taste for risk and adventure.
His/Her daring and sense of innovation will have impacted on his/her sector or region, or on the vision others have of the sector.

The selection criteria take into account in order of priority:

  • The real performance of its market (growth  turnover despite the crisis ...)
  • Originality and innovation (process, no competing product on the market...)
  • Job creations
  • Hope (potential and international vision)
  • Contribution to the image of EDHEC Business School

Our previous Prize winners


Jean-Marc Lazard (Master 1995), OpenDataSoft, lauréat 2017

In 2012, Jean-Marc Lazard convinced that the value of data is all about how it is used, Jean-Marc Lazard created OpenDataSoft, the first online platform designed to make all data shareable and easily reusable.

As a pioneer of open data as a way to support the initiatives of public stakeholders on transparency and innovation, in 2012 Jean-Marc quickly expanded his market to companies in the private sector to help them innovate with their data. After 5 years, more than 100 major cities, public administrations and companies in 13 different countries have placed their trust in OpenDataSoft as a way to share their data between staff members and with their partners: examples include Paris, Brussels, Toulouse, Eindhoven, Potsdam and Lille, as well as Veolia, Schneider Electric, Saint-Gobain, Solvay, BPCE and SNCF.

After raising €6.5 M from investors including Salesforce Ventures and Caisse des Dépôts, being named as one of the top 10 most innovative partners of Amazon Web Services for its Smart Cities solution, and signing partnerships with General Electric and Cisco, in 2016 OpenDataSoft established its first team in the US (10 out of a total staff of 50).




Aurélien Leprêtre (Master 2000), Insitation, lauréat 2017

Aurélien Leprêtre has always been passionate about technology and driven by a desire to innovate since his early years. After a short spell with Publicis Conseil and later Accenture, in 2004 he decided to see through the project he had been working on since leaving EDHEC: setting up Insitaction! For 13 years, Insitaction and its staff of 40 have been supporting players in the retail sector through their digital transformation. Sport, luxury items, catering and transport are all sectors in which Insitaction is excelling!

The company’s primary value added is its human resources and the passion that drives them! A passion for technology, innovation and intrapreneurship! Insitaction and its in-house lab have given rise to 3 start-ups! With 22% of its revenue coming from overseas, the company decided to team up with the Altavia group in 2017 to boost its development. Their shared ambition is to increase their business twofold by 2020 and generate 50% of revenue internationally.


François Deltour (Master 1981), Effiliation/Effinity, 2016 award

François Deltour is a pioneer of the web!
In 2000, when he founded Effinity (formerly Effiliation), e-commerce was still an unruly business! Everything remained to be done. Thanks to François, Effinity quickly became a key player in the affiliation business in France, with a network of 45,000 partners. This was an area relatively unfamiliar to the wider public albeit essential to brand strategy with a view to attracting new customers online. Since then Effinity has diversified its business and is now among the primary levers that online sellers must use to secure new customers and ensure the continuing loyalty of existing ones.
François explains: “we are working in an area in perpetual movement and we must constantly adapt to the changes taking place, whether in terms of technology or the changing habits of Internet users. You might say that in such circumstances our role is to spin webs so that online traders can catch customers!”
Effinity is keenly aware of consumer trends and in 2015 launched a platform dedicated to the world of influence, linking brands to some 4,000 influencers (bloggers, Instagrammers, YouTubers, etc.).
In 2016, two new companies are being created within the group: Selldorado, a service dedicated to increasing the revenue of small online traders, and Effilocal, a web-to-store solution enabling traders, artisans and store networks to increase their local visibility online and attract new customers to their physical stores.
Effinity has also successfully exported and now has a presence in Europe and Brazil. It has a staff of 70, revenue of €20 M and more than 600 clients, including commercial business like PriceMinister, Ventes Privées  , Walmart and Boulange,  but also the Gendarmerie Nationale and Real Madrid. Based on a robust business model, Effinity has always expanded using its own capital and has never had to rely on external investors.
In the 1990s, François Deltour was already behind Palo Alto, one of the first French web agencies. He served as class delegate and was actively involved in Club Retail.
And in the Deltour family, EDHEC is (practically) hereditary: his daughter Gabrièle is currently completing her studies at the School.



Christian Raisson (Master 1994) et Philippe de Chanville (Master 2003), 2015 award

Both Christian and Philippe have started their careers in finance and investment, between Paris and London and, as passionate entrepreneurs, they are always glad to share their experience and vision of these two complementary worlds, encouraging the students to find out for themselves if they have the entrepreneurial spirit… the DIY spirit.

As an intermediary, mon Echelle.fr takes care of deliveries and transfers the value of the buyer's purchase, only when he has received the order and is completely satisfied.



Béatrice de Montille (Master 1999), Mercimaman, 2014 award

Béatrice de Montille founded Merci Maman from her base in London in 2007. She imagined a series of personalisable gifts for women, men and children. Customers can have all sorts of messages written on Merci Maman jewellery; birthday greetings, congratulations for a newborn baby, personal messages, loving words, all kinds of messages and sentiments fit with the Merci Maman philosophy.
Her business has more than tripled over the last 12 months, thanks notably to a major public relations campaign undertaken after Kate Middleton wore one of her pendants. More recently, her prize for winning the UK’s Great Retail Revival competition was a two-week concession in May in the House of Fraser department store on London’s mythical Oxford Street. Along with her 10-strong team, she is also working on developing Merci Maman in France, helped by  a report in the French TV programme, Envoyé Spécial, which showcased the Merci Maman success story on 1 May.

> www.mercimaman.com



Jean-Baptiste Duquesne (Master 1994), 2013 award

The success of the site grammes.com 750 and the creation of Confidential Group seduced community EDHEC.
Everything began in 2004, with the creation of 750 grammes, now, with 12 million visits a month, the second most popular cooking site in France. After creating a smartphone application and a YouTube channel (two million monthly views), Jean-Baptiste Duquesne inaugurated a cooking workshop in Paris in 2013, as well as a magazine version of his popular cooking website.
His goal? To make Confidentielles a top group of women’s websites in France and number one in internet cuisine websites the world over, by relying on a technological savoir-faire available nowhere else in the market.
Jean-Baptiste is also an EDHEC Alumni Business and Technologies Club ambassador

> www.confidentielles.com 

Herve Borgoltz (Master 1977), DBT, 2012 award

As an EDHEC graduate from the Class of 1977, Hervé Borgoltz began his career in a clove distillery in Zanzibar. After gaining solid management experience in engineering sectors with leading groups (Atos …), he bought DBT (Douaisienne de Basse Tension) around twenty years ago, a company then specialised in electric meters. As DBT began innovating fifteen years ago, turnover rose from 3 to 11 million euros in 5 years and it is now a world leader in e-mobility solutions and charger points for electric vehicles.  It expects to double this figure by the end of the year to reach 20 million euros, and the company has ambitious plans to produce, market and install electric charger stations across Europe.  Hervé and his team are confident they can conquer the American and Asian markets, thanks in particular to their fourth generation of rapid EV charging stations that can charge 80% of the battery in thirty minutes.The next challenge is to work on production capacity: Nissan and Renault will produce 1.5 million electric cars this year (2% of global production) and 5 million in the next 2 years. “They’ll all have to be recharged!”“Stay mobile, leap into planes,” he advises us. 

> www.dbt.fr



Rudy Muti (Master 2005), Crèches & Malices, 2011 award

When he was a student at EDHEC, Rudy was President of the EJE Junior Enterprise association. In 2005, he joined Accenture as a Business Analyst. He then worked for 3 years as Consultant in Strategy for Private Equity Funds at NeoStrategy. In 2009, he joined People&baby, one of the leaders in private nursery management, where he was Senior Project Manager.  In May 2010, he founded Crèches et Malices with a partner that he met at People&baby. The idea was to develop and manage a network of mini nurseries.
The originality of Crèches et Malices lies in its educational approach, as numbers are limited to a maximum of 10 children, ranging in age from 21 or 22 months to the beginning of nursery school. There is a high adult to child ratio (3 to 5 children maximum for each carer) and the children develop in a safe and highly enjoyable environment. Today, the network counts 6 mini nurseries in Paris and 1 in the centre of Lille. The concept is growing fast, with fifteen new nurseries planned between now and the end of 2012. 

> www.crechesetmalices.com


Guillaume Richard (Master 1996), O2, 2010 award

He founded At Home with two business partners in 1999. The company merged with Unipôles one year later. It changed its name to O2, and positioned itself as a care services company. In 2007, Guillaume was appointed Chairman and Managing Director of the Group. After a difficult start, the company he believed in began to take off. The group then developed very quickly: from one agency in 2004, it boasted 125 subsidiaries in 2009, becoming the 7th employer in France in 2010. If the expansion in the last 14 years has been impressive, Guillaume puts a large part of his success down to EDHEC which has always been there to provide backing and support. “My heart is in Edhec because my wife is from Edhec, most of my friends are from Edhec, a large part of my Board of Directors is from Edhec, some of my shareholders are from Edhec, many of my consultants and partners are from Edhec, and a lot of my customers are from Edhec.”

> www.o2.fr