March 25, 2023

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Novair, M2i and Wandercraft … finalists for the Entrepreneur’s Prize in Ile-de-France

The Entrepreneur of the Year Awards for the Ile-de-France region were awarded to the finalists on Thursday, September 23. In the Entrepreneur category, the jury rewarded Olivier Duha, president and co-founder of Webhelp. In the Start-up category, the honors go to Pierre Dubuc, the founding president of Openclassroom.

Three other finalists were nominated, in the categories of family business, Born global start-up and societal commitment.

Laurent Zenou (Novair): a family affair

Founded in 1977 in Roissy-en-France, the Novair group specializes in the design and manufacture of generators to produce and compress air and gas in the health and industrial sectors. The SME achieves a turnover of 29.4 million euros, and is present in 115 countries.

Novair is now managed by Laurent Zenou, the founder’s son. Joined the company in 2017, the current CEO secured his inventory of components right from the start of the crisis. Despite the current context of global health crisis, it plans to double its sales by 2025, and has just raised 26 million euros. Laurent Zénou is a finalist for the Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the Family Business category for the Ile-de-France region.

Philippe Guerret (M2i Life Sciences): alternative to insecticides

Serial entrepreneur – he notably co-founded a start-up in photonics – Philippe Guerret is today the president of M2i Life Sciences, a biotech that he founded in 2012. The company offers biocontrol products including pheromones which are an alternative to traditional insecticides. For example, at the Parnac industrial site, in the heart of the Cahors vineyards, it has developed a product against grape worms.

Positioned in a promising environmental niche with international development ambitions, M2i Life Sciences has been little impacted by the crisis. 79% of its turnover of 19.4 million euros is already achieved internationally. Philippe Guerret is a finalist for the Entrepreneur’s Award for the Ile-de-France region in the Born global category.

Nicolas Simon and Matthieu Masselin (Wandercraft): the exoskeleton robots

They met on the benches of the prestigious Ecole Polytechnique. The first, Nicolas Simon, was passionate about robotics, he was even president of the school’s robotics club. As for Matthieu Masselin, he followed a specialization in energy.

With their diplomas in hand, in 2012, they created Wandercraft. The start-up designs and markets exoskeleton robots to recreate human walking without crutches. This equipment allows disabled paraplegic people to regain mobility. Their main product, Atalante, is mainly used in rehabilitation centers. Next development for Wandercraft: a smaller exoskeleton that would allow walking in the street at 3 km / h. Nicolas Simon and Matthieu Masselin are finalists for the Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the Societal Commitment category.

* The Entrepreneur of the Year award is organized by EY, in partnership with HSBC, Verlingue, Steelcase and bpifrance.