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Rapunzel founder honored as „Entrepreneur Of The Year 2017”

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Leonhard Wilhelm (second from left side) is the son of Joseph Wilhelm and Jennifer Vermeulen. He took the award for his father who was traveling in Sikkim - Organic State (India) to visit One World Award winner Chief Minister Shri Pawan Chamling.

Leonhard Wilhelm, management assistant and son of the Rapunzel founder accepted the honor in Berlin on behalf of his father. Because Joseph Wilhelm was prevented from receiving the award personally due to a different award honor: In India he visited this year’s Grand Prix Laureate of the One World Award, the Prime Minister of the federal state Sikkim, Mr.Shri Pawan Chamling. Photo © Redcarpet Reports

Internationally renowned awards for responsible entrepreneurship were definitely not on the minds of Joseph Wilhelm and his wife Jennifer Vermeulen in the year 1974 when they opened their small natural food store in the city of Augsburg. Now, the Rapunzel founder Joseph Wilhelm was honored as „Entrepreneur of the Year 2017“. The award jury was particularly impressed by the social commitment of the organic food manufacturer from the Allgäu region and its worldwide activities with agricultural partners and suppliers.

With the „EY Entrepreneur of the Year“, the business consultancy firm Ernst & Young honors particularly successful entrepreneurs who are selected from numerous applications by an independent jury. It was a very exciting moment at the gala event in the German Historical Museum in Berlin on November 17, 2017: 29 finalists received a recognition. But who will be called up onto the stage once more and will be announces winner in the different award categories? In the laudatory speech presented by Steffen Klusmann, the chief editor of the Manager Magazin, it became clear after a few words: Rapunzel won the award in the category consumer goods/trade.

Social commitment

Social commitment has been an integral part of Rapunzel Naturkost from the very beginning explained Joseph Wilhelm: „We have never focused on one-dimensional economic success only. For us the common benefit of all those who participate in the value added chain is the decisive factor.“ This also includes the work quality in the company and family-friendly working time models. Rapunzel‘s innovative power for the natural food trade also convinced the jury; be it that Rapunzel made the first organic chocolate in the world or developed Samba, the classic nut nougat cream in organic quality which was a sensation 25 years ago.

When asked whether an organic lifestyle was a trendy fashion Leonard Wilhelm responded: “Today, the conventional trade likes to promote organic products. Where we come from, back when my father and my mother started in 1974, organic had to do with pure conviction and ideology. This is totally different from the conventional industry of today. “

About the „EY Entrepreneur Of The Year“contest

The award „EY Entrepreneur Of The Year“ honors entrepreneurial excellence in more than 60 countries around the world. In Germany, the award was endowed for the 21st time in 2017. An independent jury selects the laureates in the different categories as well as one honorary laureate. The German version of the contest is organized by Ernst & Young (EY) and co-sponsored by the partners LGT Private Banking, by CNC, the strategic management consulting company for communication, the Manager Magazin and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. This year, 29 companies reached the finals.

Joseph Wilhelm at the One World Award Gala in Legau.

Joseph Wilhelm at the One World Award Gala in Legau.


Short profile of Rapunzel Naturkost GmbH

With an annual turnover of 185 million Euro (2016) and its 370 employees, Rapunzel Naturkost GmbH, Legau/Allgäu, is a leading manufacturer, producer and distributor of organic food products. Nearly 600 Rapunzel products are marketed nationwide in more than 6,000 natural food stores, organic supermarkets and health food shops and in more than 30 countries around the world. For Rapunzel, both the quality of the food products as well as the wellbeing of the farmers who grow the products are central aspects of its company strategy.


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