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The entrepreneur behind an innovative idea which enables lighting to be controlled by touch has won the 2012 LiveWIRE Netherlands Business Awards.

Philip Ross from Eindhoven received the top prize of €10,000 Euro from Dutch astronaut, André Kuipers, after winning the public vote on the website, with 38% of votes cast. Philip was also highest placed by an independent judging panel of enterprise experts, which included: Rinke Zonneveld, Ministry of Economic Affairs; Louis van Garderen, Mazars; Wim Poelman, Delft University Technology; and, Max Christern, NRC. The judges based their decision on three main criteria including: innovation; entrepreneurship; and, the growth potential of the business.

Philip’s business, Fonckel, has developed a whole new dimension to lighting, by developing a lamp which can be controlled by hand. By gently touching the back of the lamp, the user can adjust the intensity of the light, broaden or narrow the beam, and change the direction of the light.

The other three finalist businesses also displayed great innovation with ideas including: heated cushions for outdoor seating; the world’s smallest adapter plug; and, a virtual reality treatment for people with fears of heights or flying.

Rinke Zonneveld, Director of Entrepreneurship at the Ministry of Economic Affairs said, “We need young innovative entrepreneurs to provide solutions to social problems. Giving such innovative businesses confidence is important as they will contribute to economic growth. Shell LiveWIRE shows that the Netherlands is full of entrepreneurship.”

Dick Benschop, President of Shell Netherlands said, “Nearly two thirds of the Dutch public believes that innovation is needed to overcome the current economic crisis. This appears from the National Innovation Survey by Ipsos Synovate, commissioned by Shell. Each year LiveWIRE assits 600 innovative entrepreneurs and supports innovation. This is especially important in times when the economy is under pressure. Today, there is a larger public awareness of the successful combination of innovation and entrepreneurship. These finalists show that innovation makes a difference.”

Piet van Staalduinen, Director of Syntens Innovation Centre said, “Syntens Innovation Centre strengthens the innovative capacity of entrepreneurs. Working with LiveWIRE, we help young entrepreneurs achieve their growth ambitions by helping them to innovate sooner, faster and better. These finalists have shown what innovation means! Today, these entrepreneurs have received a well deserved moment in the spotlight. Let them be an example for many more entrepreneurs.”

Commenting on his LiveWIRE award, Philip Ross said, “I’m extremely proud to receive this LiveWIRE award. As a team, we jumped in at the deep end with the idea and created a company from it. To win the backing from the judges and the public makes us very proud.”


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