Session highlights: Fireside chat – Entrepreneurs without borders
Making a better life for refugees
The refugee crisis continues to grow, with 60 million displaced people worldwide. In 2015, three World Entrepreneur Of The Year Forum panelists were inspired to help. One year later, Selim Bassoul of The Middleby Corporation, updated Bryan Pearce, Global Leader – EY Entrepreneur Of The Year, on the difference being made by the cooker his company designed.
Thanks to a solar panel and 26 Middleby patents, the $100 stove can purify water, charge a cell phone and cook a meal — all while saving women and girls six hours a day fetching wood and cooking. And because women and girls make up 80% of refugee camps, that time can now be devoted to finding work and going to school.
“How do you put a figure on helping people to better their lives?” asked John Miller of Middleby’s board, which approved funding the project unanimously. Bassoul added that it has been a bonding experience for employees: “This has triggered more emotion, attachment and loyalty to our company.”
With the oven a success, Bassoul wants to connect with more entrepreneurs who have ideas and projects that can help refugees.
“I came here to do one thing: to spread the message that it’s easy to help,” he said.
“How do you put a figure on helping people to better their lives?”
- John Miller
Global Leader – EY Entrepreneur Of The Year and Venture Capital Advisory Group
Bryan is a partner with Ernst & Young LLP and the Global Leader of the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Program, which operates in 60 countries and 150 cities representing more than 90% of the world’s GDP. He oversees the Entrepreneur Of The Year alumni network and our culminating event — EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year in Monaco. Bryan is actively involved with EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women and the EY Junior Academy program.
Bryan is also the Global Leader for EY’s Venture Capital Advisory Group. Today EY is the market leader serving leading VC firms and their portfolio companies. Bryan leads a number of Venture Capital Advisory Group initiatives aimed at serving leading VC investors and their high-growth, IPO-bound portfolio companies, and he is involved in research and other projects with corporations seeking to access external innovation through corporate venture funds, incubator and accelerator initiatives, and more.
Chairman and CEO
The Middleby Corporation
EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2004 Midwest
As CEO of The Middleby Corporation, Selim Bassoul has led the company to record-breaking growth through innovation over the past 16 years. Under his leadership, Middleby has grown from $100m and a few brands to a $2b global company with 60-plus brands and 3 business platforms.
Selim is an EY Entrepreneur Of The Year and Young Presidents’ Organization International Legacy Award recipient who serves on the boards of multiple corporate, civic and philanthropic organizations. He is featured on the 2016 Nation’s Restaurant News Power List. Selim’s unconventional management style has been featured in The Wall St. Journal and other top business media. He is the Motley Fool’s “Best CEO of All Time.”
Central in Selim’s life is giving back. Through his foundation, The Dignity Foundation, he educates and trains people who have made past life mistakes for work in the restaurant industry, offering them a second chance. His passion has led him to develop and distribute innovative ovens for refugee use worldwide in 2016.