Press release

Murad Al-Katib of AGT Food and Ingredients Inc. from Canada named EY World Entrepreneur Of The YearTM 2017

Minsk, 26 June 2017

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Murad Al-Katib, President and CEO of Saskatchewan-based AGT Food and Ingredients Inc., was named EY World Entrepreneur Of The YearTM 2017 at an awards ceremony held in Monaco’s Salle des Etoiles on 10 June. He was picked from among the 59 country winners from 49 countries vying for the title.

Murad started AGT Food and Ingredients in 2003 and it has since grown into the world’s largest vertically integrated supply chain for lentils, chickpeas and peas. The business went public in 2007 and has revenues of US$1.49b, with more than 2,000 employees on five continents. AGT Food and Ingredients has been growing revenue sustainably by an average of more than US$100m each year for the past five years. The company exports approximately 23% of the world trade in lentils to more than 120 countries around the globe.

Murad Al-Katib, President and CEO, AGT Food and Ingredients Inc., says: “I am deeply moved and honored by the recognition of this award. AGT is committed to building a successful and sustainable business. By taking risks and rethinking the approach to my industry, we have grown the business responsibly and transformed Canada’s agricultural industry. I thank EY for the recognition on behalf of all of my colleagues who day in and day out are committed to our values and purpose.”

Mark Weinberger, EY Global Chairman and CEO, says: “Through his vision and approach, Murad has transformed an industry and today leads a company which has seen exceptional growth in the last decade. He also demonstrates a clear purpose by embodying compassionate entrepreneurship, using his capabilities to make a positive impact by feeding millions and educating refugee families. Murad’s success and passion make him an exemplary EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year winner.”

This year, Belarus was represented by Valentin Baiko, Chairman of the General Shareholders’ Meeting of SООО Conte Spa and the winner of Belarus Entrepreneur Of The Year 2016.

Valentin Baiko says: "I am deeply honored to represent Belarus at such a major international business forum. We have been in regular contact with press and entrepreneurs from other countries, who are interested in the business environment in our country. And I have told them all that Belarus has everything necessary to successfully start up and grow a business.

I was pleased to notice that social responsibility was a key theme of the forum this year. Today, many entrepreneurs are focused not only on making profits, but also on improving living conditions for other people. And I am sure that the business of tomorrow is a business of honorable goals."

Pavel Laschenko, EY Belarus Managing Partner, says: "In 2017, the Belarusian flag was again hoisted in Monaco, at the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year finals. Valentin Baiko, Belarus Entrepreneur Of The Year 2016, was a worthy representative of Belarus at one of the most prestigious business events in the world, where he competed with the planet's best entrepreneurs. We can say with confidence that Belarus and Belarusian business have become a recognizable and respected part of global economic integration. Valentin made a strong impression on the judging panel not only due to his achievements in the textile industry, but also on the back of his plans to develop organic agriculture in Belarus and his eagerness to make other people healthier.

Entrepreneurs from all continents, living in both large and small countries and operating in very different industries, share responsibility for the future of our planet. Despite the economic uncertainty, they manage to find business development opportunities, create new jobs, ensure economic growth, innovations, education, famine relief, equal life opportunities and equal prospects for personal development worldwide." 

"We congratulate Murad Al-Katib, an outstanding Canadian entrepreneur, on his victory and wish him every success in his business, which is useful for the entire world. I am sure that each year Belarus will produce more and more successful entrepreneurs. And we will be glad to see them participate in Belarus Entrepreneur Of The Year 2018."

In Belarus, the event is held every two years. Belarus entrepreneurs have an opportunity to compete with the best leaders of global business during the final stage of EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year. Applications to participate in Belarus Entrepreneur Of The Year 2018 will be accepted from February 2018.

About Murad Al-Katib and AGT Food and Ingredients Inc.
Murad Al-Katib believes in a world where safe, affordable and sustainable protein will be available to all. Through the growth of AGT Food and Ingredients, he is realizing and leading this vision with the explosive growth of the vegetable protein industry.

Murad seized this opportunity 15 years ago in Canada's rural prairies by creating a business that would become the strategic link for lentil producers, by creating a direct connection between the agricultural producers and the world. Today, Canada is the world's largest lentil producer with Murad at the helm of the largest company in the sector.

Murad serves as the President and CEO, a board member and an executive committee member of AGT Food and Ingredients. He has guided AGT from start-up to a position as the world's largest vertically integrated supply chain processor of lentils, chickpeas and peas with 46 manufacturing facilities. Its 2016 revenues were US$1.49b and it has more than 2,000 employees on five continents.

The company has expanded considerably through a combination of organic growth and strategic acquisitions. It has completed 17 acquisitions in seven years on five continents, many of them in emerging markets. This has contributed to AGT's ability to consolidate the global pulse seed and staple food sector and it has diversified its business units in other areas such as pasta, rice, varieties of grains, food ingredients, protein and fiber product.

The concept of “compassionate entrepreneurship” underpins Murad's world outlook and purpose-driven approach. He feels strongly about food security, famine food aid and emergency refugee food response which are his lifetime causes.
By accessing his global supply chain and manufacturing and distribution networks, he has delivered over four million family ration cartons to international agencies for Syrian refugees under food aid tenders. Murad was honored and recognized for this philanthropic work: in 2016 he was named Global Citizen Laureate by the United Nations Association in Canada, and most recently in March 2017, he was one of four honorees of the Oslo Business for Peace Award.

About Belarus Entrepreneur Of The Year 2016
Valentin Baiko, Chairman of the General Shareholders’ Meeting of SООО Conte Spa
Conte Spa was established in 1997 in Grodno (the Republic of Belarus) when the market was still in its infancy and, viable ideas and strong players were in high demand.

Valentin is one of Conte Spa's founders. Led by Valentin, Conte has transformed into a leading hosiery manufacturer in Central and Eastern Europe and a major investment business.

Today, Conte group's products and investments are present in more than 30 countries, including Asia and North America. It views the most promising markets as North America, North Africa and GCC countries.

Conte group has own manufacturing and distribution companies in 7 countries, with a workforce of over 4,000 people. The company is an attractive employer for its personnel as it maintains excellent working conditions and competitive salaries.

Valentin believes strongly in the idea of leaving our children a land that is good to live in. Therefore, the company has been investing significantly in environmentally friendly agriculture and green energy in recent years.

About the judging panel
The independent judging panel was chaired by Jim Nixon of Nixon Energy Investments (US). Joining him were:

  • Rosario Bazán of DanPer (Peru)
  • Judy Chan of Grace Vineyard (China – Hong Kong/Macau)
  • Diane Foreman of Chelsea Group Ltd (New Zealand)
  • Ilkka Paananen of Supercell (Finland)
  • Rosemary Squire of Trafalgar Entertainment Group (UK)
  • Manny Stul of Moose Enterprise Holdings & Controlled Entities (Australia), who is the previous year winner.

Broadcast coverage, an interview with the winner and high-resolution photography is available to download for broadcast and online use at: http://broadcast.ey.com/stories/10225

Event photography is available at www.ey.com/weoy/eventphotos

About EY
EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The firm has been active in the CIS since 1989. Currently, 4,500 professionals work at 20 offices in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Ekaterinburg, Kazan, Krasnodar, Rostov-on-Don, Vladivostok, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Togliatti, Almaty, Astana, Atyrau, Bishkek, Baku, Kyiv, Tashkent, Tbilisi, Yerevan and Minsk. EY opened its doors in Belarus in 1994 and is today the country’s largest international provider of professional business services. The firm’s clients include major companies and banks based in Belarus and around the world. Since 2010 EY has been a member of the Coordinating Council for the Harmonization of Belarus Law with IFRS, and since 2004 it has been the official advisor of the National Bank of Belarus for the introduction of IFRS in the country’s banking sector. The firm has acted as the coordinator of the Foreign Investment Advisory Council under the auspices of the Government of Belarus since 2001. EY Belarus has a staff of over 350 professionals.

EY refers to the global organization and may refer to one or more of the 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.

About Entrepreneur Of The Year®
Entrepreneur Of The Year® is the world’s most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs, spanning over 145 cities in 60 countries worldwide. As the first and only truly global award of its kind, Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates those who bring new products and services to the market, creating jobs and wealth. It is intended to encourage entrepreneurship, thus promoting the economic development and prosperity of society as a whole. The awards have been held in Russia since 2003, in Kazakhstan since 2007 and in Belarus since 2014. In Belarus, the event is held every two years.