During an award show on Wednesday 15 June at the Handelsbeurs in Ghent, the winners of the 21st edition of the Vlerick Award were announced in the presence of numerous business leaders and alumni. The Vlerick Award is presented annually by Vlerick Business School as a tribute to two successful Vlerick alumni who, as entrepreneurs and business leaders, are at the helm of fast-growing organisations.
The Vlerick Enterprising Leader Award went to Tim Van Hauwermeiren, co-founder and CEO of argenx. Pieter Loose, CEO of Ekopak, received the Vlerick Venture Award.
The Vlerick Enterprising Leader Award is bestowed by Vlerick Business School on a business leader and Vlerick alumnus with a convincing track record in the areas of leadership and entrepreneurship, whose organisation has a positive impact on society. The company will have grown into a major, strong player at the top in a sustainable way.
Tim Van Hauwermeiren, CEO of argenx: “Vlerick Business School plays a very important role in our knowledge economy by educating, inspiring and helping generations of entrepreneurs to make the leap to their ‘Big Idea’. This Enterprising Leader award is great recognition of our joint entrepreneurship. Our biotech cluster creates enormous added value for our knowledge-driven society and serves a very special goal: the patient. I hope that argenx will be a source of inspiration for the next generation of entrepreneurs.”
Tim Van Hauwermeiren, CEO of argenx, wins the Vlerick Enterprising Leader Award.
The Vlerick Venture Award puts a young, enterprising Vlerick alumnus in the spotlight as the owner or founder of a rapidly growing company that has a positive impact on our society.
Pieter Loose, CEO of Ekopak: “I am hugely proud to receive this award as an alumnus. We have had an incredible run at Ekopak over the past year and this Venture award is recognition of all our hard work. We are feeling climate change more and more these days, once again with this persistent drought. It is important for every company and all future entrepreneurs to strive for sustainable growth and a sustainable future. My entrepreneurship started ten years ago and Vlerick played an important role in this. The school has helped to shape the company by means of its degree programmes, knowledge and network. The recognition for this award therefore also goes to Vlerick, as they helped to make Ekopak what it is today.”
Pieter Loose, CEO of Ekopak, wins the Vlerick Venture Award.
Other nominees for the Vlerick Venture Award 2022
About Tim Van Hauwermeiren
Argenx was founded in 2008 and, under the leadership of CEO and co-founder Tim Van Hauwermeiren, has grown into one of Europe's most successful biotech companies. The company specialises in immunology and aims to improve the quality of life of people suffering from severe autoimmune diseases and cancer. The argenx Immunology Innovation Program (IIP) combines the knowledge of its own employees with that of leading academic researchers and scientists, resulting in the development of a portfolio of new drugs based on antibodies that is one of the absolute world leaders. Today, the BEL20 company has a market value of around €15 billion and argenx has some 1,000 employees, spread across offices in Ghent, Boston, Tokyo and Geneva.
About Pieter Loose
Ekopak was founded in 2004. In 2013, Pieter Loose took over as CEO and started developing a ‘Water-as-a-Service’ model for sustainable water management as the basis for a sustainable future. By doing so, the company is meeting the enormous challenge of continuing to provide our water-driven economy with suitable water on the one hand and ensuring that the population’s basic right to sufficient drinking water remains guaranteed on the other. Ekopak has become the champion in water recycling and sustainable water use, helping the industry to build a sustainable future with respect for people, the environment and society.
Five years after winning the title of Promising Company in West Flanders, Pieter undertook a successful IPO at Euronext Brussels in 2021. In the process, the company raised 56 million euros in capital to achieve sustainable growth. The technology is now available in 12 countries and Ekopak has opened offices in France. Over the past year, the number of employees has tripled and the company currently has around 80 employees. The annual turnover is €11,300,000. This year, the company is once again aiming for substantial growth.