On Tuesday 13 October, The King presented the New Entrepreneur of the Year awards. The awards are presented each year to people from foreign backgrounds who have achieved success with their companies with limited resources, through hard and determined work.
There are two categories. The New Entrepreneur of the Year award is presented to a person with a foreign background who lives in Sweden and who has started a business in a short space of time using limited resources. The Pioneer award is presented to a person who has lived in Sweden for a longer period of time and who has succeeded in establishing a strong and profitable business.
This year's New Entrepreneur of the Year award was presented to Jamshaid and Nasir Gill from Green Plank AB.
The reasons for winning were as follows: "Product development began in Pakistan. Jamshaid Gill developed alternative construction materials by combining recycled plastic, wood and rice hulls. But just when the time came to start production, he and his family were forced to leave the country for political reasons. In 2009 he came to Sweden and immediately started the company together with his brother, who was already living here. After four days studying Swedish for immigrants, he began selling boards, rails, fencing and planks to Swedish builder's merchants. Green Plank's products feature a unique combination of materials and a high-tech manufacturing process. Today, Green Plank has a turnover of SEK 25 million. Their ambition, innovation and environmental consideration make the brothers ideal recipients of the New Entrepreneur of the Year award."
The Pioneer award was presented to Behrang and Behrooz Gilanpour from Ozone Tech Systems AB.
The reasons for winning were as follows: "As an 8-year-old, he fled the war in Iran, together with his mother and brother, and arrived in Sweden in 1987. Nine years later, he began studying engineering in Linköping. His brother, who is a year younger, began studying at Lund University. It began with a degree project, and then employment, and in 2006 their parents mortgaged their house and the brothers took over the company. Thanks to a huge amount of extra work, they were able to survive. Today, they have ten employees and have built up a unique environmental company. They have used ozone gas to create ozone generators that purify air and water. In 2012, things picked up when their technology received an industry recommendation. In 2014, the company recorded a turnover of SEK 10 million."
The New Entrepreneur of the Year awards were established in 1999. The aim is to provide role models and highlight good examples. Since 2000, The King has been the patron of the awards. The IFS Pioneer award was initiated in 2009.
The foundation responsible for the awards is the International Entrepreneur Association in Sweden (IFS).
The prize winners are chosen by the Nomination Committee, which is made up of former County Governor Björn Eriksson, Chairman of the Committee, Gustav Douglas from Latour, former County Governor of Blekinge County Gunvor Engström, Salvatore Grimaldi from Grimaldi Industrier, Ali Karimi from Pars Gruppen, Göran Lundwall from ALMI, Björn Rosengren from Kinnevik, Mats Torstendahl from SEB, Ayad Al Saffar from Ur & Penn, Azita Shariati from Sodexo Norden, Lena Olving from Myronic AB, Stina Honkamaa Bergfors from United Screen AB and Rafael Bermejo, Permanent Secretary of the Nomination Committee.