Hamdi Ulukaya, CEO and founder of Chobani was presented with the Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year 2013 award at a ceremony in Monte Carlo over the weekend.
Ulukaya was chosen out of a group of 50 country-winners from across the globe and was recognised for his disruptive innovation to bring real food to the masses, regeneration of a long-stagnant category, financial success and personal commitment to building to a world-class brand over a five year period.
“I am deeply honoured to receive this award from Ernst & Young and in the company of such amazing fellow business leaders from around the world,” said Ulukaya.
“What began as just my personal commitment to make delicious and nutritious Greek Yogurt accessible to everyone has turned into a 3,000-person-strong company serving three markets around the world. I look forward to our next 3,000 employees and sharing our food philosophy with even more consumers as we expand into new markets.”
Bryan Pearce, Americas Director, Entrepreneur Of The Year Ernst & Young LLP, said that the award recognises and celebrates the work of innovative entrepreneurs and corporations around the globe.
“We work with great entrepreneurs at every level of society: fresh thinkers at global corporations, visionaries at pre-IPO firms and social entrepreneurs working on the world’s most pressing issues and unmet needs,” said Pearce.
“These high-growth companies are thinking differently and disrupting the norm to create entirely new industries and categories. We are particularly excited to see this year’s World Entrepreneur of the Year winner from the U.S. – innovating an entire product category and propelling economic and job growth here in the states as well as abroad.”
With humble beginning at his parent’s dairy in Turkey, Ulukaya left his family’s business to seek out opportunities abroad where he recognised a gap in America’s dairy market for Greek Yoghurt.
Setting up in 2005, he took two years to perfect his recipe with the first order shipping in 2007. November 2011 saw Ulukaya choosing Australia as the first international market to launch his product due to the high quality of Australian dairy products.
In December 2012, Ulukaya opened his $30m state of the art yoghurt factory in Dandenong South, Melbourne which saw annual capacity triple, along with the creation of 50 new jobs.
Today, Chobani is a $1b global brand.