Ardo Wins Prestigious Entrepreneur of the Year Award

Ardooie, Belgium-headquartered Ardo has been named Entrepreneur of the Year 2018 (Onderneming van het Jaar) by EY, in collaboration with De Tijd and BNP Paribas Fortis. A special ceremony took place in Brussels on October 16 to honor the company, as CEO Rik Jacob was presented the award by Deputy Prime Ministers Jan Jambon and Alexander De Croo.

Ardo is a major global player in the production of fresh-frozen vegetables, herbs and fruit for retail, foodservice and industrial customers. Its strong growth in recent years generated revenues approximately 1 billion euros with 3,800 person workforce in 2017. The group has an international sales network, with 21 units in nine countries responsible for production, packing and distribution.

ardo winsArdo Managing Director Jan Haspeslagh (center) is all smiles as he holds the award with pride about all that the family owned and operated company has achieved. Applauding him at far left is CEO Rik Jacob.EY has organized the “Onderneming van het Jaar” competition since 1995. The award highlights Belgian companies that distinguish themselves through their innovative approach, bold international vision, strategy, healthy financial position, dedicated teamwork, good governance, ambition and determination to continue to grow.

Ardo was recognized as a strong Belgian family business that manages to obtain very impressive results through boldness and talent. The company is also firmly committed to sustainability.

Thanks to a powerful fusion of various branches of the Haspeslagh family, Ardo has achieved considerable synergies and improvements in earnings. The company has thus developed into an undisputed European leader in its field and is set to play an important role globally.

“The retention of the family culture in the business during the significant expansion is admirable and makes Ardo ideally positioned for further growth, with the focus on corporate social responsibility and sustainability,” said Michèle Sioen, president of the jury.

Patrick Rottiers, country managing partner of EY Belgium, added: “Profitable growth and innovation go hand in hand. Ardo’s innovation strategy consists in innovating products that are authentic, flavorful, natural, attractive, user-friendly, nutritious and healthy, with the focus on sustainability in the growing and production processes, packing and the logistics chain. It has managed to pursue growth while maintaining an entrepreneurial spirit and short lines of communication, inherent in the family culture to which the company remains committed.”

Ardo is the 24th name on the impressive list of winners in recent years, along with WDP (2017), Vyncke (2016), DEME (2015), Katoen Natie (2014), Willemen Groep (2013), La Lorraine Bakery Group (2012), Soudal (2011), Taminco (2010), Studio 100 (2009), Cartamundi (2008), Groep H. Essers (2007), Metris (2006), Option (2005), Deceuninck (2004), Miko (2003), Omega Pharma (2002), Resilux (2001), Melexis (2000), Sioen Industries (1999), Compex (1998), Icos Vision Systems (1997), ECA (1996) and Real Software (1995).