Rafael Valdez

EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Class of 2022, Peru
Rafael Valdez, Executive Director of Grupo Santa Elena

Rafael Valdez is breeding success by transforming the Peruvian poultry industry.

Rafael Valdez’s mission is to improve the nutrition of the Peruvian people by transforming the poultry industry. Currently, 70% of Peruvians buy live chickens in local neighborhood markets, where conditions are often unhealthy and don’t meet animal welfare regulations. Rafael is determined to offer a product that is safer, healthier and tastier than competitive offerings. He founded Grupo Santa Elena (GSE) in 1992, and today, it is one of Peru’s largest poultry producers. 

GSE complies with health, sanitary and nutrition laws. Its Artisan brand is the only one in Latin America with the European AENOR certification, which confirms its chickens are raised without the use of antibiotics. Under its two main brands, Avinka and Artisan, GSE has launched nearly 40 products to cater to local tastes and traditions.  

During the pandemic quarantine, GSE quickly innovated to deliver customer orders within 24 hours. Rafael introduced a WhatsApp delivery service, began working with other delivery apps, built “pop-up” mobile stores across Lima and launched an e-commerce platform.  

Rafael believes the true measure of his success is in the company’s societal impact. GSE operates in rural areas, and each new farm brings the opportunity of new roads, electricity and clean water to local communities. He also believes female empowerment is key to social development, with women making up half of the company’s managerial and leadership team. 

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