Robert Keane batch MBA ’94D, and the founder and CEO of Cimpress, became the first recipient of the inaugural INSEAD Alumni Global Entrepreneurship Award 2017 at the recently concluded award ceremony at the INSEAD Alumni Forum France at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris on 17 June. Cimpress (NASDAQ: CMPR) is the world leader in mass customisation, with a focus on developing software and manufacturing capabilities to make customised products accessible and affordable.

The INSEAD Alumni Global Entrepreneurship Award was recently launched by the INSEAD Alumni Association to recognise alumni entrepreneurs who have built corporations that reflect INSEAD’s values of diversity and innovation and are known for their global impact and footprint. The Association was motivated to create the award by the fact that more than 50 percent of INSEAD alumni engage in entrepreneurial activities during their lifetime and INSEAD has been ranked as #1 in Europe in terms of the amount of venture capital funding raised by its graduates.

Keane was selected by the judging panel for his exemplary record as an entrepreneur. Keane founded what is now known as Cimpress shortly after completing his MBA at INSEAD in 1995, with the vision of offering small business owners access to the same high-quality, customised printed products that bigger companies enjoyed. With this dream, he launched his company single-handedly from the spare bedroom of a small apartment in Paris.

Today, Cimpress is listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange with a market capitalisation of USD 2.8 billion and over USD 1.8 billion in annual revenues. Globally, the company employs 10,000 people and has received the Boston Business Journal “Best Place to Work” award six times. The judging panel also noted the company’s extensive corporate social responsibility programmes to help diverse groups around the world.

Ilian Mihov, INSEAD Dean and Professor of Economics, presented the award to Keane and said, “On behalf of the school, I would like to extend our congratulations to Robert Keane for receiving this prestigious award, for his accomplishments as an entrepreneur and for the innovative impact he has made through his work. Entrepreneurship is at the core of INSEAD’s DNA and is central to our mission of promoting business as a force for good, and I commend Robert for acting as a role model in our community though his success as an entrepreneur and as a driver for positive change in the world. We look forward to future editions of this award to recognise our entrepreneurial and innovative alumni who have positively contributed to business and society around the world.”

Sadia Khan, MBA’95D, President of the INSEAD Alumni Association (IAA) and CEO of Selar Enterprises, added, “We are proud that the association’s idea to create this global alumni award is now a reality and we sincerely thank all who have made this possible. We encourage everyone to come forward with their nominations for outstanding alumni from all corners of the world who are contributing to business and communities while maintaining the highest standards and values in everything they do. This will allow us to recognise these remarkable personalities for their achievements and for being an inspiration to all.”

Robert Keane, President and CEO of Cimpress, said: “INSEAD played a significant role in the inception of Cimpress. With entrepreneurial culture being such an integral part of the school’s DNA, I was encouraged and supported by INSEAD’s strong values, resources and network. If I were to give one piece of advice to fellow entrepreneurs in this age of disruption and global competition, it would be to remain steadfast in your beliefs but open-minded and flexible as you grapple with the inevitable challenges and setbacks you will face as you pursue your dreams.”

In picture: from left: Ilian Mihov, Dean of INSEAD; Robert Keane, CEO of Cimpress and recipient of the award; and Sadia Khan, President of the INSEAD Alumni Association.

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