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Welcome to Shell LiveWIRE International / LiveWIRE Netherlands Award winners get straight back to work

 

An innovative new business that produces aerodynamic side panels for HGVs has won the prestigious LiveWIRE Netherlands Young Business Award. 

On Tuesday January 13, 2009 the founders of Ephicas, Hjalmar and Gandert Van Raemdonck, were presented with the Young Business Award and 10,000 euros by Minister of Economic Affairs, Maria van der Hoeven. The next morning they were both back at work. Gandert held a workshop for coachwork builders while his brother was travelling to France and the Czech Republic to talk with potential manufacturers for their side panels, which greatly reduce fuel consumption and improve traffic safety.

Ephicas has already won several other awards: last year these included the “New Venture” business planning competition and an Academic Enterprise Award. For that reason the Young Business Award didn't cause any overexcitement but did give a “good feeling”, says Gandert. “Definitely. You’re creating your own product and technology. It’s gratifying when this is honoured. Three years ago people wondered what we were up to. They said we’d never get off the ground. But you just have to push ahead. Then the breakthrough will come by itself.”

Winning awards is good publicity, adds Gandert. Ephicas has only been up and running for a short time – not until April 2008 did they really emerge – but thanks to all the publicity the industry can already find its way to Ephicas. “People read it and remember your name. We’re getting phone calls from all over the place. Trailer builders, suppliers of materials – they just want to have a talk with us.” The time is right for Ephicas as well. “Six years ago we shouldn’t have tried this, but now fuel prices, CO2 emissions and safety are very much on people’s minds.”

In 2009 Ephicas aims to break into the market with retrofits; side panels that can be fitted onto existing HGVs. Subsequently the company hopes it can close deals with semitrailer builders, as it is better to integrate the side panels in the vehicle design.


 

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