Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2016:


The Young Entrepreneur Awards, hosted by Youth Business International in partnership with Barclays, demonstrate the contributions that young entrepreneurs can make all around the world.

Young Entrepreneur Awards logo

We created the competition in 2006, and since then  we have celebrated outstanding entrepreneurs from all corners of the globe – including Argentina, China, India, Kenya, Saudi Arabia and the UK.

In 2016, the awards took place on 7th of April in Kampala, Uganda. The awards ceremony was part of a larger event on youth entrepreneurship called The Promise of Youth. Read more about the event here.

Here are the finalists and category winners:

Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2016 – winner:

Jhon Lezama
CEO, Proacos S.R.L., Perú
Supported by: Colectivo Integral de Desarrollo, Perú

In Peru, guinea pigs are a traditional delicacy in the Andean highlands, and 31 year old Jhon is taking the food industry one step further. By selling guinea pig meat as nuggets, he has been able to increase their appeal, helping him expand sales to the capital Lima and coastal areas.

“Both as a life and a professional objective was the idea was to have my own business, which would make me independent and help me create something of massive impact.”


Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2016 finalists:

Rodrigo Perez
CEO,, Sweden
Supported by: Swedish Jobs and Society (NyföretagarCentrum), Sweden

Rodrigo from Sweden runs an events-setting company with a difference. Being originally from Chile, Rodrigo decided to focus on providing employment opportunities to migrant workers who would normally struggle to find work. The result: a fast-growing business with a highly motivated workforce.

“I have tried a lot of activities and jobs and I have failed more than I have succeeded, a lot of risk-taking and along the line sometimes ended up losing money – but this made me who I am today.”


Tharindu Dassanayake
Founder, Square Mobile
Supported by: Youth Business Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka

Tharindu is passionate about digital customer engagement, but he is not your traditional tech entrepreneur. He grew up in a farming village in northern Sri Lanka, but wanted to do something new and innovative, and has created Square Mobile – helping businesses engage with customers on mobile and social platforms.

“I am not a guy who is interested in academic curriculum. I always wanted to do something new and innovative.”


Tusshar Munoat
CEO, Rutu Enterprises, India
Supported by: Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust, India

Tusshar is focused on the kind of work that normally big businesses focus on – asphalt manufacturing, road construction and laying water pipes, in western India. In just four years and from an initial loan of US$15,000, he his business has grown rapidly, and now employs nearly 200 people.

“The pressure to find a job was mounting. Everyone mocked me; even my mother chided me for not finding a job.”

2016 Category Winners:

Social Entrepreneur of the Year-
Srikanth Bolla
CEO, Aasadeep, India
Supported by: Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust, India

Srikanth Bolla, from Andra Pradesh, South India, has set up a business selling eco-friendly products such as plates made from agricultural waste, packaging containers made from recycled paper, and organic glue and inks. In order to increase the social purpose of the company, he has made sure that at least 50% of his 200 employees are disabled people. It’s an impressive achievement, especially considering that Srikanth himself has been visually impaired since birth.

“I wanted to create a social enterprise that addressed three primary areas of concern to me:  increasing pollution through indiscriminate usage of plastics and harmful chemicals; lack of employment opportunities for India’s eighty million disabled people; and improving the livelihoods of Indian farmers.” Read more here.

Woman Entrepreneur of the Year-
Chavy Erenfeld
CEO, Chavy Erenfeld – Education
Supported by: Keren Shemesh Foundation, Israel

As a young woman in an ultra-orthodox Jewish community, employment opportunities for Chavy were limited. But with entrepreneurial zeal, Chavy managed to create a business providing graduate studies to other orthodox women – creating work for herself, but more importantly, education to others.

We provide an alternative route to academic studies, while respecting religious and social constraints”. Read more here.

Startup Entrepreneur of the Year-
Mangesh Suravase
CEO, Mangesha’z, India
Supported by: Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust, India

“Mangesha’z” is a chain of contemporary unisex salons that provide a range of hair care and spa services to youth, in cities and villages alike. Customers, particularly in rural areas, throng to Mangesh’s salons to experiment with different hairstyles and enjoy its modern ambience – an experience entirely different from the traditional practice of getting a haircut under a tree.

“My unisex hair salons, the first of their kind in rural areas, are growing at a phenomenal pace of 20% every month.”

Mentor of the Year-
Tai Wei David Chan
Supports entrepreneurs at: Youth Business Hong Kong, Hong Kong

David has been a volunteer business mentor for 10 years. Having extensive knowledge in pitching to angel investors, marketing, strategic planning and sales, David has supported many entrepreneurs throughout the years. Most recently, David helped a young entrepreneur strengthen his special education business that was recognised by University of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Education Bureau.

“As a businessman myself, I really believe that start-up experiences, whether or not they are ultimately successful, are invaluable in helping participants understand themselves and the world around them.”

We have years of experience understanding what works in youth entrepreneurship.

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© Youth Business International 2016. In the UK Youth Business International is a registered charity no: 1123946. Tel +44 (0)20 3326 2060.