Rubens Menin, Chairman of Brazil-based MRV Engenharia e Participações S.A., was this evening named EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2018 at an awards ceremony held in Monaco’s Salle des Etoiles. Rubens was picked from among 761 program participants that included the 56 country winners from 46 countries and regions vying for the title here in Monaco. Rubens becomes the first ever EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year winner from South America.
Rubens, 62, founded MRV, a homebuilder and real estate company, in 1979 and has grown it into Latin America’s largest real estate developer by units sold and Brazil’s leading low-income housing builder. In 2017, MRV recorded net operating revenue amounting to US$1.44b with a net income of US$197m. These figures represent substantial growth since it was listed on B3 [formerly BM&FBOVESPA] in 2007, when net revenue amounted to US$105m and net income totaled US$13m. MRV employs more than 24,000 people, operates in 150 cities and has built some 300,000 properties. In these cities, 1 in 200 people lives in a property built by MRV.
Jim Nixon, Chairman and CEO of Nixon Energy Investments and Chair of the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year judging panel, says:
“The judging panel is honored to award Rubens this year’s title and to recognize the first EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year from South America. The judging panel was struck by his innovative and entrepreneurial spirit and his purpose of seeking a fairer and more egalitarian society.”
Rubens Menin, Chairman, MRV Engenharia e Participações S.A., says:
“Throughout my life, I have pursued the purpose of bringing the dignity of homeownership to people for whom this is an unobtainable dream. I am very proud to be recognized in this way but the work does not stop here. The construction industry is well positioned to further enact positive civil impact. I believe economic empowerment is not just about wealth generation but also social development and MRV’s legacy will continue for generations to come.”
Mark Weinberger, EY Global Chairman and CEO, says:
“Rubens’ clear vision, determination and focus has helped countless Brazilian families to take their first step on the property ladder. His leadership is exemplified by his persistence to succeed against a backdrop of national economic challenges and turbulent years to create Brazil’s largest public housing provider and become Latin America’s largest real estate developer. Rubens is a truly inspiring World Entrepreneur Of The Year winner.”
Bryan Pearce, EY Global Leader – EY Entrepreneur Of The Year, says:
“Rubens’ success and passion make him an exemplary EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year winner. As a family business, he has passed the torch on to the next generation. His son, nephew and daughter will help preserve his family's remarkable legacy by continuing to provide housing to millions of people in Brazil and beyond.”
About Rubens Menin and MRV Engenharia e Participações S.A.
Rubens recognized that, for many Brazilians, home ownership was an unobtainable dream, which motivated him to start his own company. In 1979 at just 21 years old, he founded MRV Engenharia e Participações S.A. with two partners. During the “favelization” of cities in Brazil in the 1970s, Rubens saw an opportunity to make real estate more affordable to the masses by changing homebuilding from a quasi-artisanal activity to a true industry.
Under Rubens’ leadership, the building company has delivered more than 320,000 houses and apartments in Brazil through 2017, enabling over one million people to realize their home ownership dream. Currently, MRV manages a total of 214 construction sites, with an average of 398 housing units per site. Since 2008 MRV, with several other companies, has been part of the Brazilian Federal Government’s social housing program “Minha Casa, Minha Vida” (My House, My Life) and delivered three million houses to Brazilians.
The search for innovation has always been part of Rubens’ approach. For example, MRV has employed a concrete wall method, an economical, flexible and sustainable building system. The method has enabled MRV to decrease its average workforce from 12 to 3.5 workers, while also erecting a four-story building with 16 housing units in just 10 working days. Part of MRV’s strategy has been to build fewer units in capital cities and more in mid-sized towns across Brazil, where land is cheaper and competition weaker. In 2015, mid-sized towns accounted for 70% of MRV’s market.
Over the decades, Rubens has also diversified his activities. In 1994, he founded Banco Inter, which in March 2018 filed a request with the Brazilian Securities and Exchange Commission to go public. In 2008, he created LOG, a company specializing in the development and lease of logistics property, malls, office parks and commercial lots. And in 2012, he founded American Housing Solutions (AHS), a low-income housing company in the US that provides access to quality housing for households currently spending more than half of their income on rent. In the same year, Rubens also founded URBAMAIS, a plot developer that works with families to build high-quality, sustainable residential subdivisions.
Over its 38 years of history, the building company has invested more than US$302m in urban infrastructure including road, sewage and lighting networks, schools and daycare centers and neighborhood health care centers. MRV has also built public squares and revitalized parks. Through the Brazilian Friend of the Climate Program (Programa Amigo do Clima), MRV has reached the goal of 1 million planted trees, extracting 550,000 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Under Rubens' leadership, MRV has grown into a family business where his can-do, optimistic attitude has passed to the next generation. His son Rafael is now co-CEO of the company along with his nephew Eduardo Fischer and his daughter Maria is Chief Legal Officer.
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)
- Diane Foreman of Chelsea Group Ltd. (New Zealand)
- Ruigang Li of CMC Capital Partners (Mainland China)
- Manny Stul of Moose Enterprise Holdings & Controlled Entities (Australia)
Event photography is available here
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About EY Entrepreneur Of The Year
EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year is the world’s most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The award 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 award 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.