Filipino businessman Tony Tan Caktiong, head of Jollibee Foods Corporation, was named Ernst & Young's 2004 World Entrepreneur of the Year at an award ceremony in Monte Carlo, Monaco.
Starting from two ice-cream parlours in Manila in 1970, Jollibee has grown to become one of the major companies in Asia.
Jollibee Foods Corporation now employs 26,000 people in almost 1,000 outlets in seven countries, including the US and China.
In the Philippines, Jollibee commands 65 per cent share of the domestic fast food market, competing with the established global brands.
In 1993, it became the first food services company to be listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange. The company's annual turnover in 2003 was over 470 million.
Over the next five years Jollibee will aim at expanding its presence in China and elsewhere by focusing on the requirements and tastes of local markets, and providing high quality services and products.
"Caktiong's success is because of his ability to innovate, to look ahead, and to build an exceptional brand," said Gregory K Ericksen, Global Director of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year programme.
The judges identified the ability of Jollibee to fund its own growth by reinvesting its profits. Caktiong still retains a 65 per cent share in the company.
Caktiong was selected the winner from a field of 31 entrants -- each of whom had been named entrepreneur of the year in national or regional programmes run by Ernst & Young.
Collectively, the 31 finalists in this year's awards programme employ more than 375,000 people and represent approximately 23 billion in revenue.
The panel of 9 judges -- all of whom are past participants in the entrepreneur of the year programme in his or her country -- chose Tony as the recipient of the award based on written applications and meetings held throughout the course of the four-day event.
The programme was established four years ago, and builds on Ernst & Young's experience in running national entrepreneur of the year programs.
The award was initiated by Ernst & Young in the United States in 1986 to recognise entrepreneurs who had created and sustained successful, growing business ventures.