Rubens Menin of Brazil takes home EY's World Entrepreneur of the Year award

13 September 2018 3 min. read

With preparations heating up for EY's Entrepreneur of the Year awards, to be held in Monaco next year, this years winner will not be forgotten in Latin America. MRV Engenharia-founder Rubens Menin was in June named EY’s World Entrepreneur of the Year, the first ever Latin American to receive the prestigious award.

EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year program has for more than 30 years recognized outstanding business achievements in vision and leadership around the globe, with the program now operating in more than 50 countries and 145 cities worldwide. Since 2001, the firm has further brought together its individual country winners to compete for the coveted global crown – with Rubens Menin this year announced EY World Entrepreneur of the Year or 2018.

Chair of the EY World Entrepreneur of the Year judging panel, Jim Nixon, a former regional entrepreneur of the year in the US who serves as CEO of Nixon Energy Investments, said; “The judging panel is honored to award Rubens this year’s title and to recognize the first EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year from South America. The judging panel was struck by his innovative and entrepreneurial spirit and his purpose of seeking a fairer and more egalitarian society.”

The Brazilian national helms MRV Engenharia, with a headcount of more than 24,000 people one of Latin America’s biggest low-income housing and residential real estate companies – co-founded by Menin in 1979 and with a current market capitalization in excess of $1.4 billion. MRV Engenharia has now built over 320,000 properties, with one in every 200 denizens across the 150 cities of its operations said to live in the company’s housing.

Rubens Menin of Brazil takes home EY's World Entrepreneur of the Year award

The World Entrepreneur of the Year program however extends its consideration beyond just the bottom line. Judged by an independent panel according to a range of criteria, including innovation, global impact, personal integrity, influence and philanthropy, and with a rigorous selection process that takes in the nominees’ in-depth profiles, interviews and further research, the award further recognizes the contribution of individuals and businesses to improving the quality of life in their communities and countries.

For Menin and MRV Engenharia, this includes a more than $300 million investment to date in infrastructure projects covering areas such as sanitation and healthcare, roads, lighting and education. In addition, the company has so far planted 1 million trees to help offset global carbon emissions. “Our business is not just about economic development and income creation,” Menin said on winning the award. “The construction industry is well positioned to further enact positive civil impact. I believe economic empowerment is not just about wealth generation but also social development.”

Mark Weinberger, EY’s Global Chairman and CEO said at the June awards ceremony in Monaco; “Rubens’ clear vision, determination and focus has helped countless Brazilian families to take their first step on the property ladder. His leadership is exemplified by his persistence to succeed against a backdrop of national economic challenges and turbulent years to create Brazil’s largest public housing provider and become Latin America’s largest real estate developer. Rubens is a truly inspiring World Entrepreneur of the Year winner.”

Yet, while the continent celebrated its first Latin American champion, with four previous world awards being granted to its North American neighbors and five each to Europe and Asia, several other South American business entrepreneurs were also among the 56 country winners short-listed for the prestigious world title, including; José Rosenberg, the Chilean founder of mattress manufacturing company Colchones Rosen; Nicolas Szekasy and Hernan Kazah of Kaszek Ventures in Argentina; Columbia’s Humberto Enrique Rodríguez, the founder of environmental resources firm Grupo Sala, and; Sergio Chufani Abarca, of the Mexican construction company Constructora Chufani.