Ernst & Young and the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship this year presented the Social Entrepreneur Of The Year award to Robert Schönfeld, the founder of the International School of Music and Fine Arts. Ernst & Young began selecting an Entrepreneur of the Year in the United States in 1986. Several decades later, the contest is now held in over fifty countries on six continents. Internationally, it is one of the most widely respected awards of its kind.
A love of music and the desire to continue in the tradition of Dvořák and Smetana led Robert Schönfeld to be awarded the prize of Social Entrepreneur Of The Year 2012
Prague, 26 February 2013 – Robert Schönfeld, founder of the International School of Music and Fine Arts, has won the prestigious award of Social Entrepreneur Of The Year 2012 Czech Republic. The school makes it possible for top-class Czech artists to enjoy a steady income despite giving regular concerts, and offers children and adults music, art and dance courses in their free time. Eva Katrušáková of the organisation Every Czech Reads to Kids was a finalist in the Social Entrepreneur Of The Year 2012 competition.
The Social Entrepreneur Of The Year competition is an extension of the Entrepreneur Of The Year project in the Czech Republic. The organiser is Ernst & Young in collaboration with the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. Social Entrepreneurship is neither charity work nor philanthropy. A social entrepreneur is someone who creates and supports an organisation, be this for-profit or not-for-profit, aimed at achieving systemic social change through the introduction of new ideas, methods or approaches to the issue at hand.
“In the case of the International School of Music and Fine Arts the judging panel was impressed by the innovative approach taken to confronting a challenge that had never been resolved in the Czech Republic. Mr Schönfeld brought both maestro and pupil together as used to be the case in the past. Music is taught by motivated people who are actively involved in live performance and the great project logistics mean that the teacher-student encounter is made-to-measure. The individual approach is enhanced by tutoring in Czech and other languages. This original project has proved its viability and could be transferred to any other country,” says Petra Vitoušová, chair of the judging panel in the category Social Entrepreneur Of The Year and herself Social Entrepreneur Of The Year 2002 and founder of the organisation Bílý kruh bezpečí.
“Winning the prize for Social Entrepreneur Of The Year 2012 means recognition of fifteen years of hard work, absolute determination and persistence. Our ambition is and will continue to be the provision of an open school that is not in any way elitist, an institution that will offer the best education without suffocating the children. The aim is simply to encourage a love of music and pleasure from a child’s own creative work,” said the winner Robert Schönfeld – International School of Music and Fine Arts.
Robert Schönfeld, businessman and philanthropist, is the founder of the investment and advisory group RSBC. He studied at the Academy of Music in Prague and has an MA in music and art history and the violin. Upon returning from a study trip to Finland in 1997, he realised that the Czech Republic was not offering a musical education in any language other than Czech. He also saw how limited job opportunities were for Czech artists, whom the education system at that time did not allow to combine the obligations of a concert artist with teaching activities. He decided to establish using his own finances a school that would be innovative in its approach both to teachers and students. This would be an institution providing top class Czech artists the backup allowing them a regular income and offering children and adults the possibility of expanding their talent in a natural, playful form. The International of Music and Fine Arts, the first international school of its kind in the CR, opened its doors in 1998 to a small group of pupils. These days the school has 500 students and provides work for more than 100 teachers. As well as music the school offers art and dance lessons, and organises concerts, exhibitions and educational seminars for music teachers.
“For Robert Schönfeld and for the previous winners social entrepreneurship is not simply work but their mission in life. I believe that social entrepreneurship is the way forward to a better society and that each of the winners is an ideal role model,” adds Magdalena Souček, Country Managing Partner, Ernst & Young.
About the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship
The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship is a non-profit organization based in Geneva, Switzerland. It was founded in 1998 by Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum and his wife Hilde, to promote entrepreneurial solutions and social commitment with a clear impact at the grassroots level.
About the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year competition
Entrepreneur Of The Year, which selects the most successful business pioneers and innovators, was started by Ernst & Young in the United States in 1986. The contest has continued to grow and expanded to a number of countries worldwide. Currently the only internationally recognized competition of its kind, it is regularly held in nearly 50 countries on six continents. Its aim is to introduce to the public outstanding individuals in the field of business who may serve as examples for young, up-and-coming entrepreneurs. The Entrepreneur Of The Year contest has been conceived as an international competition, so the judging criteria are comparable in every country where it takes place. For more information, please visit www.podnikatelroku.cz.
About Ernst & Young
Ernst & Young is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. Worldwide, our 167,000 people are united by our shared values and an unwavering commitment to quality. We make a difference by helping our people, our clients and our wider communities achieve potential.
Ernst & Young refers to the global organization of member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information, please visit www.ey.com/cz.