“Entrepreneur of the Year” is an international initiative promoting the best entrepreneurs around the world on an unparalleled scale, with more than 10,000 candidates each year. The contest has been organized annually since 1986 and over 30 countries participate. In the United States, where the competition was born, the Ernst & Young awards are often referred to as the business Oscars. In Poland the contest has been organized for the last six years, drawing more participants each year and consequently fulfilling its mission to present the most valuable examples of business success to the general public.
This year, the special jury supervised by Jan Bielecki, former Polish prime minister and chairman of Pekao SA, chose an elite group of the 11 best entrepreneurs from dozens of worthy candidates. The main criteria used in awarding the prize were resourcefulness, innovation, good management and the measure of worldwide success achieved by the company by offering products better than those offered by foreign competitors.
Michal Kicinski and Marcin Iwinski owe their victory and the prestigious title of “Entrepreneurs of the Year” to their success on the computer game market both as publishers – CD Projekt is the largest games distributor in Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary, with more than 135million PLN (approx. $43 million) annual revenue – and as developers. The Witcher, the first game developed by CD Projekt’s development branch, CD Projekt RED, was a massive success. Developed over five years at a budget of more than $11 million, the game has won more than 100 awards around the world and has sold more than a million copies.
The future is already bright for CD Projekt. The company recently launched a beta version of GOG.com (http://www.gog.com), dedicated to selling classic PC games 100% DRM-free and compatible with modern operating systems, which is earning praise from media and gamers around the world. The company just announced The Witcher: Rise of the White Wolf, coming Fall 2009 to X360 and PS3, bringing its top-quality games to an even larger global audience. Two other unannounced titles in development at CD Projekt RED, as well as the multiplatform sci-fi shooter in development at Metropolis Software – another CD Projekt family company – will only further the company’s global presence in the coming years. Jan Krzysztof Bielecki said: “My colleagues from CD Projekt are not only managing a good company but also focus on innovation. This is how they fight the monster of recession.”
This year’s competition was extremely tough: among the nominees were representatives from companies much larger than CD Projekt, including Jedrzej Wittchen (founder and owner of Wittchen Sp. z. o.o. company), Bogdan Szewczyk (founder of the Bodzio furniture factory, one of the biggest furniture manufacturers in Poland) and Adam Bogdani (chairman of Otopol Technology S.A., one of the market leaders in manufacturing and selling highly specialized eye-diagnostics equipment).