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James Mwangi from Kenya named Entrepreneur of the Year 2012

Dr. James Mwangi, CEO and Managing Director of Kenya’s Equity Bank Limited was tonight named the Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur Of The Year 2012 at an awards ceremony held in Monte Carlo’s Salle des Etoiles. James was picked from among the 59 country finalists vying for the title across 51 countries, each of whom had already been named the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year in their home country.

Equity Bank is the largest bank by customer base in East and Central Africa and the largest African majority owned company in the region. The bank has more than seven million accounts representing over half of all bank accounts in Kenya. It also has operations in Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda and Tanzania.

Ruben Vardanian, President, Troika Dialog and Chair of the judging panel said, “Not only has James really transformed people’s lives across Africa by offering them access to funding that they have never had before, Equity Bank continues to grow quickly through a strong financial performance.”

“I’m honored to accept this award on behalf of the people and customers of Equity Bank,” said James. “This is a global recognition for Africans who are embracing the power of entrepreneurship to change the economic and social state of Africa.”

Maria Pinelli, Ernst & Young’s Global Vice Chair for Strategic Growth Markets said, “James has been pivotal in the transformation of Equity Bank into one of Africa’s brightest business success stories. His is truly an inspirational story of entrepreneurial spirit with an innovative business model that has the potential to be replicated globally.”

Jim Turley, Global Chairman and CEO of Ernst & Young, said, “Over the past 26 years, entrepreneurs have done more than any other group to stimulate innovation, job creation and prosperity during both periods of growth and in challenging economic conditions. James epitomizes the vision and determination that set entrepreneurs apart and is very worthy of the title Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur Of The Year 2012.”

Broadcast coverage and an interview with the winner will be available to download for broadcast and online use, at:


Interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook about ‘Made in the USA’

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaking at the D10 Conference, touching upon the subject of Apple’s manufacturing in China. Of course Apple has been widely criticized for worker conditions at its supplier factories. He also addresses the question of whether an Apple product will ever be labeled ‘Made in the USA’ again, rather than having most processes handled in China.

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IBM Study: If You Don’t Have a Social CEO, You’re Going to be Less Competitive

The list of the world’s CEOs regularly includes celebrities, billionaires, big egos, risk takers, and failures. What it does not include are social media experts; but that’s about to change. When IBM (NYSE: IBM) conducted its study of 1709 CEOs around the world, they found only 16% of them participating in social media. But their analysis shows that the percentage will likely grow to 57% within 5 years. Why? because CEOs are beginning to recognize that using email and the phone to get the message out isn’t sufficient anymore.

Read the full article in Forbes here.

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In defence of capitalism and entrepreneurs

There are many drawbacks to capitalism. But capitalism and entrepreneurship are proven to still be the best way people around the world can progress forwards.

A handful of greedy people (mainly within banks) have fundamentally created the financial mess that we are in. But what people have got to be careful of (and I’m not biased!) is not dismissing every single entrepreneur out there – the restaurant owners, the street vendors, the start-ups, even the airline owners, because of the actions of the unscrupulous few.

It is through the capitalist system that people get paid, hospitals get built, innovative ideas become reality and young people get educated. Yet the way some of the press and some politicians talk, there is a danger of a complete dismissal of capitalism and a complete swing in the other direction.

Luke Johnson, a brilliant entrepreneur who also happens to be a great writer and thinker, wrote on this subject in the Financial Times recently, and I agree with him wholeheartedly.

He said: “Possibly, capitalism is poor at promoting the cause and explaining its merits.

“No doubt most highly successful entrepreneurs are tough individuals. Some break the rules, but damning an entire class for the high-profile errors of the few is destructive and ill-judged.”

It is becoming fashionable now to try to knock entrepreneurs, the very people who are going to create the jobs of the future. Just being an entrepreneur, making a difference to other people’s lives is a tremendous thing to do, but on top of that, ideally each company should become a force for good, as I explained in my recent book. Let’s continue to screw business as usual.

By Richard Branson. Founder of Virgin Group