Posted on March 31, 2012

The winner of the much coveted Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards 2011 (EOY 2011) was recently announced in Doha at a Gala dinner hosted by Enterprise Qatar and Ernst & Young at The Ritz-Carlton hotel. The EOY Awards 2011 were held for the very first time in Qatar under the patronage of HE Sheikh Jassim Bin Abdul Aziz Al Thani, Minister of Business and Trade.

The award, which is key in the discovery and promotion of unrealized talent, was presented to Ashraf Abu Issa (pictured), Chairman of Abu Issa Holding, by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani, Head of Enterprise Qatar Executive Committee and Board Member of Qatar’s SME Authority, Noora Al Mannai, CEO of EQ, Abdulaziz Al-Sowailim, Chairman and CEO of Ernst & Young MENA and Firas Qoussous, Managing Partner of Ernst & Young Qatar.

Abu Issa won the highly esteemed award for establishing one of Qatar’s key retail empires and setting unique an exemplar for business in his industry. Abu Issa thanked Enterprise Qatar and Ernst & Young for the opportunity expressing his pride and honor in representing The State of Qatar at the upcoming global awards ceremony at Monte Carlo in June 2012.

Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur Of The Year recognizes outstanding entrepreneurs for their vision, innovation, courage, and leadership in building and growing successful businesses that influence the way we live, the products and services we depend on, and the economic vibrancy of our local communities and global markets.

Seven visionary entrepreneurs representing six companies were shortlisted as finalists for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Qatar 2011 Award, including the winner Ashraf Abu Issa in addition to Omran Al-Kuwari of GreenGulf Inc, Zeyad Al Jaidah & Abdulla Alansari of Techno Q, Abdulaziz M. Aldelaimi of National Petroleum Services, Mohammed Al Emadi of Al Emadi Enterprises and Jassim Al-Mansoori of iHorizons.

The judges’ committee comprised a league of highly recognized figures in Qatar;H.E. Sheikh Dr. Abdullah Al-Thani, President of Hamad Bin Khalifa University; H.E. Dr. Hessa Al-Jaber, Secretary General of ictQatar; and Mr. David Norwood, Vice President of ExxonMobil – Qatar.

Ernst & Young has been running the competition for over 25 years globally but this is the first year that Qatar has hosted this business awards programme, which is considered to be the most prestigious for entrepreneurs. This competition acts as a platform for countries to showcase the best of its business and entrepreneurial success stories to the world. It also provides an opportunity for participants to look at and learn from other communities and their successes.

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani, Head of Enterprise Qatar Executive Committee and Board Member of Qatar’s SME Authority said: “First of all, we would like to congratulate Ashraf Abu Issa on a brilliant job done with Abu Issa Holding and thank Ernst &Young for bringing this opportunity to Qatar and recognizing the great achievement of the entrepreneurs and their contribution to the growth of the economy.”

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“EQ aims to support the flourishing growth of the economy and help in achieving a sustainable business ecosystem in line with the 2030 Vision and with the wise leadership of His Highness the Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, the ruler of the State of Qatar. Economic growth is one of the main pillars for the development of any society, and EQ has been established to help support create an enterprise culture across Qatar and enable SMEs to growth, develop and thrive. “added Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdul Rahman Al Thani

Noora Al Mannai, EQ CEO, said: “EQ is mandated with supporting entrepreneurs, potential entrepreneurs, start-ups and SMEs owing to the crucial role they play in today`s economies, fuelling growth, creating jobs and building communities. This is the first time that this prestigious competition has taken place in Qatar, which is testament to the country’s rapid development and flourishing economy, and we, at Enterprise Qatar, are honored to be involved in such a globally recognized and remarkable initiative.”

Al Mannai continued: “The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award is internationally acknowledged as being pivotal in the discovery and promotion of unrealized talent. Innovation and entrepreneurship are poised to be the key factors in Qatar’s future development and, despite being a country with a relatively small population, Qatar is literally brimming with highly talented and skilled people.”

“A huge well done and a big congratulation must go to Ashraf Abu Issa for all his hard work. He is a real entrepreneur in every sense of the word and winning this award underlines his dedication to following his ideas through to reality. We wish him every luck in the grand final in June.”

Al Mannai concluded by encouraging any Qatar-based entrepreneurs, particularly female Qataris, to approach Enterprise Qatar for support and advice in taking their creative ideas and innovations forwards.

Abdulaziz Al-Sowailim, Chairman and CEO of Ernst & Young MENA, said; "It gave me immense pride that we were able to bring our Entrepreneur Of The Year Program to Qatar and all of our finalists were deserving of the accolade. They have worked tirelessly to build their businesses and I was delighted to be part of the ceremony to celebrate their achievements. My congratulations of course go to Ashraf Abu Issa who will now go on to represent the State of Qatar at our World Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards in Monte Carlo in June and I wish him every success there. I now look forward to next year when we hope the stories of this year's finalists inspire even more entrants to our program."

Ashraf Abu Issa will officially represent the State of Qatar in the Global World Entrepreneur Hall of Fame to compete for the title of Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur Of The Year taking place in Monte Carlo between June 7th and 10th, 2012.

This year marks a quarter of a century since the very first Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards, which took place in a single US city in 1986. Today, the program spans more than 140 cities in over 50 countries, which together represent more than 90% of the global economy.

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