Press release

11 Mar 2022

EY Azerbaijan Announces Winners for the Entrepreneur Of The Year 2022

EY honors the most innovative and persevering entrepreneurs in the country.

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EY Azerbaijan

Multidisciplinary professional services organization

EY Azerbaijan is pleased to announce the winner of the ‘EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™’ Award. It is the third time this prestigious contest amongst entrepreneurs has been staged in Azerbaijan. The competition, which has been held in partnership with the Small and Medium Business (SMB) Development Agency of Azerbaijan, is sponsored by ABB. The contest is supported by Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Foundation, AZPROMO, and a Baku-based consultancy firm EKVITA.

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 a group of 9 entrepreneurial leaders with an impressive track-record to choose from.

EY and its partners unveiled the overall winner at a special award ceremony held on 10 March which was attended by the leaders of the business community.

“These past two years have been incredibly challenging for entrepreneurs in Azerbaijan and elsewhere across the world. This contest that EY has been organizing and staging in our country is indeed a tribute to these remarkable individuals who have chosen to carry on regardless, braving the current obstacles and overcoming difficulties. I believe that these dedicated and resilient people will bounce back from the ongoing market disruptions and continue to inspire and grow”, said Ilgar Veliyev, the managing partner at EY Azerbaijan. “EY is proud to honor the participants of the 2022 ‘EY Entrepreneur Of The Year’ competition who have really interesting stories to tell and generate value for the communities they live and operate”.

From the onset of the competition, EY Azerbaijan teamed up with the Small and Medium Business (SMB) Development Agency of Azerbaijan. The agency’s head, Orkhan Mammadov said: “Support for small and medium size businesses is one of the key priorities when it comes to Azerbaijan’s economic development and we’ve managed to take some important steps towards these objectives. Therefore, we’re extremely pleased that for three years running the ‘EY Entrepreneur Of The Year’ competition has focused on small and medium size businesses. We’re also pleased that entrepreneurs have responded proactively and shown interest in taking part in this contest. I’d like to thank EY Azerbaijan and all the partners for supporting this contest and making it happen”.

After thorough assessment of contestants’ applications and careful consideration, the judges decided to recognize the winners in the following categories. Thus, the jury awarded Innovations nomination to Rashad Mirzayev from ATL Tech, Social Impact to Afet Ahmadova from ZIRA Natural & Gourmet and Best Customer Solution nomination to Vugar Jafarov from YIĞIM Payment System.

Afet Ahmadova, the founder of ZIRA Natural & Gourmet has been announced as an overall winner of this year’s competition – she will represent Azerbaijan in the ‘World Entrepreneur Of The Year’ competition where she’ll compete against the world’s most innovative and inspiring businessmen and businesswomen. After the announcement Afet said: “I’m smitten and humbled, to be honest. But I am also incredibly proud that my efforts have been recognized by the jury. My work represents my beliefs and my philosophy, so I’m very happy that people have shown appreciation for my work”.

The competition became possible thanks to generous support of ABB and SMB.

“ABB has been supporting ‘EY Entrepreneur Of The Year’ competition for three consecutive years. We deem it an important part of our mission to encourage entrepreneurship and support small and medium sized businesses. Our bank has pledged to provide any possible support to the business community. We also feel that this competition has become one of the most effective platforms for entrepreneurs in Azerbaijan to demonstrate their talents and skills”, said Abbas Ibrahimov, Chairman of the Executive Board of ABB.

Click on the photo (Gallery button on the top right corner) to see the highlights of the Award Ceremony.