Two Greek businesses emerged victorious at the at the prestigious European Business Awards ceremony last Thursday in Istanbul. Gaea Products was announced winner of the Import/Export Award, whilst Athens-based Hygeia Hospital was announced winner of the Employer of the Year Award. RSM, sponsor of the Awards, is the seventh largest worldwide network of independent audit, tax and advisory firms.

The ceremony, attended by over 250 entrepreneurs and business professionals, marks the culmination of a year-long decision-making process which began with over 15,000 businesses and ended with just 100 Ruban d’Honneur finalists attending the event in the hope of becoming one of the ten category winners, including the Import/Export and Employer of the Year Awards.

Gaea is a leading producer of Greek speciality foods. Housing 15 famous brands, Gaea has a vision to become the premier Greek food importer-distributer into the Russian market. Headquartered in Athens with a factory in Agrinion, in 2012, consolidated turnover was E27 million – 2.5 times up from 2011.

Established in 1974 as the first private hospital in Greece, Athens-based Hygeia Hospital has one of the largest private hospital units in the country. The hospital has 55 different medical specialities and has set the standard for many Greek hospitals, being the first to conduct a heart transplant, the first to treat an HIV patient and the first hospital in Europe to treat prostate cancer through the implantation of radioactive particles.

An extensive and prestigious judging panel made up of European business leaders, academics and entrepreneurs have been involved in the robust awards process which included written submissions, video entry judging and face-to-face presentations. Entrants have been judged on a vast array of business markers, including innovation, ethics and international mind-set.

The Awards offer entrants unparalleled opportunities to network and share best practice, as well as providing a chance to meet like-minded businesses from across Europe, with a view to forging new and successful business relationships.

Jean Stephens, CEO of RSM, says: “Gaea was up against strong competition but triumphed due to its emphasis on quality and partnerships. The company demonstrated market-leading ethical and social standards, and an impressive track record of growth – 28 per cent annually since its inception.”

“It’s fairly unusual to have a healthcare provider win an employer award, which is what makes Hygeia’s success so special. Against the backdrop of the greatest economic crisis in Greece since the Second World War, Hygeia successfully protected salaries, safeguarded employee benefits, increased staff numbers by 14.2 per cent, boosted revenues by 14 per cent and delivered a 30 per cent increase in patient satisfaction.”

Entries for the 2013/14 Awards programme are open until 21 June 2013, from which up to 800 National Champions will then be shortlisted. For more information, or to register your interest in the 2013/14 awards, please