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EY Azerbaijan announces winner of first ever ‘EY Entrepreneur of The Year’ competition

EY Entrepreneur of The Year

EY Azerbaijan has honored the most innovative and perseverant entrepreneurs in the country as it announced the winner of the ‘EY Entrepreneur of The Year™’ Award. It is the first time ever this prestigious contest amongst entrepreneurs has been held in Azerbaijan. This competition, which has been held in partnership with the Small and Medium Business (SMB) Development Agency of Azerbaijan, was sponsored by BP and IBAR.

The winner has been chosen by an independent judging panel made up of respected members of the business community, representatives of the international finance institutions and renowned senior executives. The judges had the group of 12 unstoppable entrepreneurial leaders to choose from.

In line with the principle of social distancing and existing restrictions due to the current pandemic of COVID-19, EY and its partners unveiled the overall winner at a special digital award ceremony held on 25 April with the use of cutting-edge videoconferencing technology.

“There are many successful businessmen in our country, but to build something truly remarkable you should be able to overcome an array of challenges and carry on in the face of various adversities. I am sure our dedicated and resilient entrepreneurs will be able to bounce back from this crisis and continue to inspire innovation and growth despite the current calamity”, said Ilgar Valiyev, the managing partner at EY Azerbaijan. “EY is proud to honor the participants of the 2020 ‘EY Entrepreneur of the Year’ competition who lead small and medium business in this country and genuinely contribute to its development”.

From the onset of the competition, EY Azerbaijan teamed up with the Small and Medium Business Development Agency (SMBDA) of Azerbaijan. The agency’s Chairman of the Management Board, Orkhan Mammadov said: “It is noteworthy that ‘EY Entrepreneur of the Year’ award ceremony, held for the first time in Azerbaijan on April 25, coincides with the “Entrepreneurs’ Day” in our country. The competition is a valuable platform for cooperation between public and private sectors and provides an opportunity to promote entrepreneurship and motivate entrepreneurs. SMBDA supports the organization of this event as an important initiative aimed at development of entrepreneurship. We consider it necessary to work together to form a new entrepreneurial role model in accordance with the challenges of modern times.”

Thorough assessment of contestants’ applications and careful consideration, the judges then decided to recognize the winners in several categories. Thus, jury awarded Sustainable Agriculture nomination to Rasim Aliyev from Geotermal Aqro, Regional Development nomination to Aliyar Aliyev from Woodpecker, Innovations nomination to Farid Ismayilzada from GoldenPay and Social Impact nomination to Rufat Azizov from Prometal. Rashkhan Garashli has been announced as an overall winner of this year’s competition – he will represent Azerbaijan in the World Entrepreneur of the Year competition where he will compete against the world’s most innovative and inspiring businessmen and businesswomen.

After the announcement Garashli said: “I would like to express my gratitude to EY for organizing such a contest. It provides a genuine incentive for people like me to grow our businesses further and aim even higher. I hope this will stimulate young entrepreneurs and ‘startupers’ to get involved in this competition and find their rightful place in the market. As a company, we have already managed to achieve recognition, so we would also like to support new players”.

The competition became possible thanks to generous support of BP and The International Bank of Azerbaijan, IBAR.

Bakhtiyar Aslanbayli, BP’s Vice President for Communications, External Affairs, Strategy and Region, said: “In our efforts to help develop the local supply chains and entrepreneurship, we are fully aligned with the aims of the “EY Entrepreneur of The Year” competition, since the contest clearly recognizes entrepreneurial achievements and growth efforts of local businesses. We would like to thank EY for this opportunity to support this prestigious competition and look forward to seeing Azerbaijan’s representative among the best entrepreneurs from around the world.”

“The EY Entrepreneur of the Year competition’ is an important development in the country’s economic life because we believe it will benefit the business community and encourage entrepreneurs to realize their potential. As International Bank of Azerbaijan we were pleased to get behind this project as we’re genuinely interested in economic growth and support for small and medium size enterprises. Our bank has been taking concrete measures to achieve these. We even founded The Entrepreneurs’ Club that allows us to support businessmen from across the country”, said Abbas Ibrahimov, Chairman of the Management Board of International Bank of Azerbaijan.

Entrepreneur of The Year™, founded by EY in 1986, is the world’s most prestigious business awards program for entrepreneurs. The program makes a difference through the way it encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential and recognizes the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. As the first and only truly global awards program of its kind, Entrepreneur of The Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognizing them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 145 cities in more than 60 countries.

About Fidan Abdullayeva