Hamdi Ulukaya, founder, president/CEO of Chobani, based in the United States, was at the weekend named the Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the year 2013, at an awards ceremony held in Monte Carlo’s Salle des Etoiles.
Hamdi was picked from among the 49 country finalists vying for the title across 47 countries, each of whom had already been named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the year in their home countries.
Turkish-born Hamdi founded Chobani in upstate New York in 2005, and launched Chobani Greek Yogurt two years later. Less than six years after launch it is the best-selling yogurt brand in the US with annual sales approaching $1 billion. Chobani has 3,000 employees and operates the largest yogurt factory in the w orld, selling its products to Australia and the UK as well as the US.
Rodrigo Herrera, CEO/chairman, Genomma Lab Internacional, and chairman of the judging panel, said, “Hamdi personifies the entrepreneurial spirit and is a real role model for any aspiring entrepreneur. The judges were impressed by his courage and perseverance.”
Speaking on Hamdi’s achievement, Henry Egbiki, Ernst & Young’s regional managing partner for West Africa, remarked: “Hamdi’s success records are uncommon and very inspiring. This is a testimony of true entrepreneurial spirit. It is a well deserved honour. I believe his achievement will inspire every aspiring entrepreneur across the globe.”
Jim Turley, global chairman/CEO, Ernst & Young, said, “Over the past 26 years, entrepreneurs have done more than any other group to stimulate innovation, job creation and prosperity during both periods of growth and in more challenging economic conditions. Hamdi epitomises the vision and determination that set entrepreneurs apart and is very worthy of the title Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the year 2013.”
For Hamdi, he said enthusiastically, “I am delighted and honoured to receive this award and I would like to dedicate this to our fans, employees, local communities and health professional friends. Without them, none of our successes would have been possible.”
“Hamdi has rightly been called the personification of every immigrant’s American dream,” said Maria Pinelli, Ernst & Young’s global vice chair for strategic growth markets. He has achieved fantastic success in a relatively short space of time.”