Exceptional Magazine : 2014 Exceptional Magazine
From a dairy farm in eastern Turkey to restoring a closed- down factory in upstate New York, Hamdi Ulukaya’s business journey led to him being named 2013 EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year at a spectacular award ceremony in Monte Carlo. When it comes to making yoghurt, Turkish-born entrepreneur Hamdi Ulukaya has the magic touch. Chobani Greek Yoghurt, which he launched in 2007, is already the best-selling brand of Greek yoghurt in the US. Made using a centuries- old technique of straining to remove excess liquid, it comes in a wide range of favours from plain to mango, passionfruit, strawberry and banana. Hamdi was born into a dairy-farming family in eastern Turkey, but he moved to the US in 1994 to learn English and pursue business school. He never fnished business school. Instead, he started making feta cheese in upstate New York in 2002 after his father visited and complained about the quality of cheese on sale. Product perfection Three years later, Hamdi bought a closed- down yoghurt factory – despite being advised against it by friends – and founded his company. It took a year and a half to perfect his yoghurt recipe, which would eventually come to be known as Chobani, or 'shepherd'. In 2009, Hamdi signed a major deal with leading US grocery wholesaler Costco. Today, Chobani's annual sales are greater than US$1 billion. From an initial staff of fve people, the company has grown to employ a global workforce and now sells its products in Australia, as well as in the US. Chobani's newest US manufacturing facility in Twin Falls, Idaho is the largest yoghurt factory in the world. Hamdi still walks the foor every day to oversee operations and prides himself on fnding employees who share his same passion and work ethic. On receiving his World Entrepreneur Of The Year award, Hamdi said, "I'm delighted and honoured to receive this award and I Photograph: Jonathan Gayman Photography 23 would like to dedicate this to our fans, employees, local communities and health professional friends. Without them, none of our successes would have been possible." 'Nothing but good': a champion for positive change As an immigrant, Hamdi sticks by his company's philosophy: 'Nothing but good'. He believes in embracing change and improving communities. His philanthropic initiatives have supported more than 50 groups globally. Every year, 10% of Chobani’s profts are donated to the companies’ foundation, an independent not-for- proft organisation Hamdi created in honour of his mother. The company is an offcial sponsor of Team USA, the United States Olympic Team. For entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs An independent judging panel of distinguished former Entrepreneur Of The Year winners picked Hamdi from among 49 country fnalists vying for the title. Rodrigo Herrera, CEO and Chairman of Genomma Lab Internacional and Chairman of the judging panel said, “Hamdi personifes the entrepreneurial spirit and is a real role model for any aspiring entrepreneur. The judges were impressed by his courage and perseverance." "The World Entrepreneur Of The Year award is by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs," says Maria Pinelli, EY's Global Vice Chair for Strategic Growth Markets. “These entrepreneurs had 100% revenue growth and 40% employment growth over the past three years. They are the men and women who create jobs, support communities and build economies." "You can sit back and wonder or just get started. Sometimes in the action of doing, the answer comes to you.” Hamdi Ulukaya, Chobani, Inc.
2015 Exceptional Magazine
2013 Exceptional Magazine