During the grand finale in MartiniPlaza yesterday, the Hoogezand Sappemeer based company Eska won the Groningen Entrepreneur Award 2016. Eska produces solid cardboard, which is used for games, puzzles and book hardcovers, just to name a few. Italian fashion designer Gucci uses Eska’s solid cardboard for luxury gift packaging, and the material for the book cover of the new Harry Potter novel is also made by Eska.
Telecomprovider Voys and catering company Bos&Bos were also nominated for the award. Even though all three finalists are completely different companies, according to the jury members, they also have a lot in common, making it difficult to select a winner. The three finalists more or less have traditional products (food & drinks, cardboard and telephony), but transformed and tailored to the modern demand of today.
For the jury, personnel management was ultimately the decisive factor for picking a winner. Eska has 350 employees, with an average age of 50 years old. All its employees, young and old, get ample opportunity to have their say in the company’s dealings and direction. Eska also made the conscious decision to focus on young talent, with their branch Youn Eska, focussing attention on both young employees and prospective employees.
Zero Waste Company
A little over a year ago, Eska changed the focus of the company from producing in bulk to specialized products, to keep up with the demand of today. Instead of mass producing graphic and solid cardboard, the company now supplies custom cardboard for luxury packaging. CEO Rienk Jan van der Kooi proudly received the award yesterday: “This is only the beginning and this award is really going to give us a lot of extra energy to move forward. I’m really proud of our employees, and also proud of the fact that I can work with them.”
Eska is also making a very serious effort to become a sustainable, Zero Waste company. They only use 100% recycled cardboard in their production process, and production waste is put to good use. The wastewater for example is gasified to become the steam that is being used in their own paper-production processes