Entrepreneur Award

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GUA Award Banner - Entrepreneur Award

Entrepreneur of the Year Award

Entrepreneurs are the backbone of our economy. They innovate to develop new products and services that transform lives, generating wealth and creating millions of jobs along the way. From small startups to mid-sized ventures, entrepreneurs build more than just businesses — they build our future. And they use their fresh thinking and passion to create social change, investing in communities and helping others achieve their potential.

We have a long history of studying and supporting entrepreneurs. In collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Foundation Global Entrepreneurs Council (GEC), the Global University Alliance – the largest consortium of + 450 universities worldwide – has decided after evaluation of the International Panel of Judges to award Tobias Ritesman the “Entrepreneur of the Year”.

This prestigious award is given to the innovators of our time – individuals with a unique entrepreneurial ability that changes our concepts and ways of living, such as Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Richard Branson, and Howard Hughes.

Tobias Ritesman is awarded the “Entrepreneur of the Year” award for his unique intellect and entrepreneurial spirit as one of Americas rising stars, and as a frontrunner on extreme automation, connectivity, and the technological revolution which will affect every aspect of our lives. A groundbreaker of the fourth industrial revolution, Mr. Ritesman has emerged as a visionary crusader in sustainability, security, the internet of things and healthcare.

2016: Tobias Ritesman
The award was presented on May 18th 2016 at the United Nations building at the World Summit of Innovation.

Previous recognized entrepreneurs that have transformed our daily life:

  • 2015 – Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia and Nathan Blecharczyk, founders of Airbnb
  • 2014 – Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba
  • 2013 – Marc Randolph and Reed Hasting, founders of Netflix
  • 2012 – Elon Musk, Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning, founders of Tesla
  • 2011 – Mark Zuckerberg, Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes, founders of Facebook
  • 2010 – Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group
  • 2009 – Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne, founders of Apple
  • 2008 – Larry Page and Sergey Brin, founders of Google
  • 2007 – Ingvar Kamprad, founder of Ikea
  • 2006 – Tim Berners Lee, founder of the World Wide Web
  • 2005 – James Dyson, inventor of the vacuum cleaner
  • 2004 – Bill Gates and Paul Allen, founders of Microsoft

Deceased entrepreneurs that have changed the world:

Alan Turing (1912 – 1954) – English 20th century mathematician, pioneer of computer science. He developed the Turing machine, capable of automating processes. It could be adapted to simulate the logic of any computer algorithm.

Robert Oppenheimer (1904–1967), United States – Atomic bomb. Oppenheimer was in charge of the Manhattan project which led to the creation of the first atomic bomb, later dropped in Japan. He later campaigned against his own invention.

Robert Noyce (1927-1990) – American 20th century electrical engineer. Along with Jack Kilby, he invented the microchip or integrated circuit. He filed for a patent in 1959. The microchip fuelled the computer revolution.

Enrico Fermi (1901–1954), Italian scientist who developed the nuclear reactor. Fermi made important discoveries in induced radioactivity. He is considered the inventor of the nuclear reactor.

John Logie Baird (1888 – 1946) – Scottish inventor who invented the television and the first recording device.

Alexander Fleming (1881–1955), Scottish scientist. Fleming discovered the antibiotic penicillin by accident from the mould Penicillium notatum in 1928.

The Wright Brothers (1871-1948) American inventors who successfully designed, built and flew the first powered aircraft in 1903.

Marie Curie (1867 – 1934) Polish born / French chemist and physicist. Curie discovered Radium and help make use of radiation and X Rays.

Édouard Michelin (1859–1940), French inventor of a pneumatic tire. John Dunlop invented the first practical pneumatic tyre in 1887. Michelin improved on this initial design to develop his own version in 1889.

Rudolf Diesel (1858–1913), German inventor of the Diesel engine. Diesel sought to build an engine which had much greater efficiency. This led him to develop a diesel powered combustion engine.

Nicola Tesla (1856 –1943) – American Physicist who invented fluorescent lighting, the Tesla coil, the induction motor, and 3-phase electricity and AC electricity.

Alexander Bell (1847 – 1922) – Scottish scientist credited with inventing the first practical telephone. Also worked on optical telecommunications, aeronautics and hydrofoils.

Thomas Edison (1847 – 1931) American inventor who  filed over 1,000 patents. He developed and innovated a wide range of products from the electric light bulb to the phonograph and motion picture camera. One of the greatest inventors of all time.

Karl Benz (1844–1929), German inventor and businessman. Benz developed the petrol-powered car. In 1879, Benz received his first patent for a petrol powered internal combustion engine, which made an automobile car practical. Benz also became a successful manufacturer.

James Clerk Maxwell (1831–1879) Scottish physicist and inventor. Maxwell invented the first process for producing colour photography. Maxwell was also considered one of the greatest physicists of the millennium.

Kirkpatrick Macmillan (1812 – 1878) – Scottish inventor of the pedal bicycle. Kirkpatrick’s contribution was to make a rear wheel driven bicycle through the use of a chain, giving the basic design for the bicycle as we know it today.

Louis Braille (1809–1852), French inventor. Louis Braille was blinded as a childhood. He developed the Braille system of reading for the blind. He also developed a musical Braille, for reading music scores.

James Clerk Maxwell (1831–1879) Scottish physicist and inventor. Maxwell invented the first process for producing colour photography. Maxwell was also considered one of the greatest physicists of the millennium.

William Henry Fox Talbot (1800 – 1877) – British Victorian pioneer of photography. He invented the first negative, which could make several prints. He is known for inventing the calotype process (using Silver Chloride) of taking photographs.

Samuel Morse (1791–1872), American inventor Morse used principles of Jackson’s electromagnet to develop a single telegraph wire. He also invented Morse code a method of communicating via telegraph.

Micheal Faraday (1791- 1867) English scientist who helped convert electricity into a format that could be easily used. Faraday discovered benzene and also invented an early form of the Bunsen burner.

Charles Babbage (1791 – 1871) – English mathematician and inventor. Babbage created the first mechanical computer, which proved to be the prototype for future computers. Considered to be the ‘Father of Computers’ despite not finishing a working model.

Sir Humphrey Davy (1778 – 1829) – English inventor of the Davy lamp. The lamp could be used by miners in areas where methane gas existed because the design prevented a flame escaping the fine gauze.

Alessandro Volta (1745–1827), Italian physicist, credited with inventing the battery. Volta invented the first electrochemical battery cell. It used zinc, copper and an electrolyte, such as sulphuric acid and water.

James Watt (1736 – 1819) –  Scottish inventor of the steam engine, which was suitable for use in trains. His invention of a separate condensing chamber, greatly improved the efficiency of steam. It enabled the steam engine to be used for a greater range of purpose than just pumping water.

Sir Richard Arkwright (1732 – 1792) English entrepreneur and ‘father of the industrial revolution.’ Arkwright was a leading pioneer of the spinning industry. He invented the spinning frame, and was successful in using this in mass-scale factory production.

John Wilkinson (1728–1808) English industrialist. John ‘Iron Mad’ Wilkinson developed the manufacturer and use of cast iron. These precision made cast iron cylinders were important in steam engines.

William Cullen (1710–1790) UK. Scottish physician and chemist. He is credited with inventing the basis for the first artificial refrigerator. Although it took others to make his designs suitable for practical use.

Benjamin Franklin (1705 – 1790) American polymath who discovered electricity and invented the Franklin stove, lighting rod and bifocals. Franklin was also an American statesman and influential figure in the development of modern America.

John Harrison (1693 – 1776) English carpenter and clockmaker. He invented a device for measuring longitude at sea. This was a crucial invention to improve the safety of navigating the oceans.

Abraham Darby (1678 – 1717) English Quaker – inventor and businessman. Darby developed a process for producing large quantities of pig iron from coke. Coke smelted iron was a crucial raw material in the industrial revolution.

Jethro Tull (1674 – 1741) – English agricultural entrepreneur. Tull invented the seed drill and horse drawn hoe. The seed drill improved the efficiency of farming and led to increased yields. It was an important invention in the agricultural revolution which increased yields prior to the industrial revolution.

Thomas Newcomen (1664 – 1729) English inventor who created the first practical steam engine for pumping water from mines. He worked with Savery’s initial design, but significantly improved it – using atmospheric pressure which was safer and more effective for use in mines to pump water out.

Thomas Savery (c. 1650–1715) English inventor. Savery patented one of the first steam engines which was pioneered for use in pumping water from mines. This original Savery steam engine was basic, but it was used as a starting point in later developments of the steam engine.

Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1726) English scientist. Newton invented the reflecting telescope. This greatly improved the capacity of telescopes and reduced optical distortion. Newton was also great physicist and astronomer.

Galileo (1564-1642) – Italian scientist. Galileo developed a powerful telescope and confirmed revolutionary theories about the nature of the world. Also developed an improved compass.

Leonardo Da Vinci (1452 – 1519) – Italian artist, scientist and polymath. Da Vinci invented a huge range of machines and drew models that proved workable 3-500 years later. These included prototype parachutes, tanks, flying machines and single span bridges. More practical inventions included an optical lens grinder and various hydraulic machines.

Cai Lun (50–121 AD), Chinese inventor of paper. Cai Lun was a Chinese political administrator credited with inventing modern paper and inventing the paper-making process. His invention included the use of raw materials such as bark, hemp, silk and fishing net. The sheets of fibre were suspended in water before removing for drying.

Archimedes (287 BC – c. 212 BC) – Archimedes of Syracuse was an ancient Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor, and astronomer Amongst other things worked out pi and developed the Archimedes screw for lifting up water from mines or wells.