Announcing the 2023 Entrepreneurship Award Winners
At Payoneer, nothing inspires us more than our customers. Their success stories serve as a testament to the determination that they have put into accomplishing their goals. We take pride in their achievements and feel honored to play a small role in their entrepreneurial journey.
Our 7th annual Entrepreneurship Awards celebrates this spirit and enables us to empower SMBs around the globe continue making an impact. We are grateful to the 9,601 entrepreneurs from over 150 countries who participated – thank you for sharing your stories with us and for making the world a better place.
Congratulations to all the 2023 Entrepreneurship Awards winners!
To read their incredibly inspiring success stories, simply click on each award title below.
- Disruptive Business of the Year
Wood and Hearts Inc – a Montessori furniture manufacturer in Ukraine
“My kids have always been my inspiration. I started to work with wood when I understood that plastic toys may be harmful to the health of my kids. All I do now is because of my dear family.” – Denys Shkribliak, Owner & Founder
- Socially Responsible Business of the Year
Dynamo – a mobility aids manufacturer in the US
“I didn’t want others to go through what I did. So I used my drive and skills to invent the next generation of mobility aids. Most mobility devices don’t work well, and they also don’t look good. I am changing that.” – William Scott, CEO
- Eco Impact Business of the Year
Kolibri – an environmental sustainability consulting firm in Latin America
“We strive to create a welcoming setting for those who share our goal of promoting a socially just and environmentally regenerative economy. We believe that successful organizations integrate environmental and social considerations into their DNA, and we’re confident this will continue.” – Prem Zalzman, Co-Founder & Sr. Manager of Strategic Innovation
- Ecommerce Business of the Year
THUMBINTHAI CO., LTD. – an apparel manufacturer in Thailand
“It all began as a small domestic business and then we saw the opportunity to go global. Since Covid-19 the business grew 400%.” – Nitcharee Ujjin, Co-Founder
- Ecommerce Business of the Year
Colorpik Inc. – a smart devices manufacturer in China
“I encourage more young people with dreams to innovate and create! We will continue to create various amazing products to improve our lives and enhance human well-being.” – Yangzhong Wang, Founder & CEO
- Services Business of the Year
Leamigo Technologies – a travel marketplace in India
“As I got to experience being in different parts of the world and heard friends share their travel stories, it made me realize that the best travel experiences are when we make a meaningful connection not only with the place but with its people.” – Shaheen Madraswala, Founder & CBO
- Services Business of the Year
Four Winds Digital LTD – an advertising agency in Serbia
“Having the opportunity to treat international B2B payments as local ones introduced a new dimension of banking transfers where we can focus on stability, speed, and service quality without any geographic limitations.” – Ognjen Vukovic, CEO & Owner
Disruptive Business of the Year
Owner & Founder, Wood and Hearts Inc
About Wood and Hearts Inc
Wood and Hearts Inc produces and sells wooden, Montessori-inspired furniture for children. Our aim is to contribute to healthier and happier childhoods. With around 200 employees mainly located in Ukraine and Europe, we are a family-oriented company and sell our products to more than 60 countries around the globe.
The first platform where we sold furniture was Etsy, followed by the launch of our own online shop and expansion to other marketplaces like Amazon. Quality lies at heart of what we do, and we heavily invest in educating customers on how to use our furniture correctly.
My kids have always been my inspiration. I started to work with wood when I understood that plastic toys may be harmful to the health of my children. And then I realized that if I scaled this idea, I could help many more families. Children’s health is our priority. Our company uses only water-based lacquer and paints, all of which are completely safe for kids. All I do now is because of my dear family.
Since 2016 we’ve been using several of Payoneer’s products. When the war in Ukraine started, we lost most of our sales volume, as majority of our manufacturing sites in Irpin, Kyiv region were destroyed. But we’ve been able to adjust to this new reality – since June 2022 we utilized Payoneer’s working capital solution to restore our manufacturing in the region and build another manufacturing site in Western Ukraine. We also take pride in being able to assist our local community to re-build in the region. Since November 2022 we have been able to return to our pre-war volume, and in December we were able to grow our volume by a further fifty percent.
I believe this award will help us create more awareness around children’s physical health and help parents motivate their children to lead a healthier, more active lifestyle.
Dynamo was founded in 2016 in South Florida with the goal to develop functional, but most importantly safe, mobility aids. It took years in the development stage and hundreds of prototypes to get it right. With the help of our medical advisory board of over 50 physicians we were able to design exactly what this industry needed: safe, high-quality, and functional mobility aids.
Dynamo stands for highly functional walking devices based on science and ergonomics. Our walking canes, crutches, rollators, and walking sticks are the best tools to help people walk, run, and play.
When I was practicing for the US Olympic Tae-Kwon-Do trials in the 80’s, I had a catastrophic accident. This resulted in 17 surgeries on both knees and over 1,000 days on crutches, canes and walkers. I suffered the pain and agony of trying to live my life using these poorly designed devices. Unfortunately, I still live with discomfort and pain every day.
I didn’t want others to go through what I did. So I used my drive and skills to invent the next generation of mobility aids. Most mobility devices don’t work well, and they also don’t look good. I am changing that. No one likes to be on medical devices; however, if you must use them, they should be dignified and fully functional.
I receive hundreds of letters per year telling me how our devices have helped others with their lives better.
As an American entrepreneur, inventor, and consultant with 35+ years of experience working on Wall Street, I have also become an invention success coach to hundreds with new ideas. Since 2021, I have served as an on-air guest personality representing Dynamo products for America’s largest multi-media retailer, QVC.
Over the past three decades, I have volunteered my time to work with over 4,000 boys and girls across the country to make their lives better. I enjoyed spending time mentoring entrepreneurial students at Florida Gulf Coast University and serving on the boards of several organizations that cater to the needs of over 100,000+ individuals. I am currently serving on the board of the Urology Care Fund, an arm of the American Urology Association.
In 2018 we found Payoneer as our reliable financial partner. Payoneer has always been well-aligned with our ecommerce needs – from initially supporting our ecommerce growth with Walmart marketplace to expanding our Dynamo brand in Europe and the UK. We appreciate having found a reliable partner in Payoneer to securely support our international customers for multi-currency business transactions while empowering us to do more on our business growth journey.
Eco Impact Business of the Year
Co-Founder & Sr. Manager of Strategic Innovation, Kolibri
We are a strategic management consultancy business based in Argentina, Mexico, Paraguay, and Uruguay. As 100% of our projects generate a positive impact, our goal is to empower more companies to integrate environmental variables into their business strategies. We work to promote Latin America as the leading region in generating positive impact.
We are a certified B Corp born in 2019, and in 2021 and 2022 we were recognized as ‘Best for the World’. We work with innovative methodologies to adapt solutions to each challenge and collaborate with our partners to understand their environmental impacts and identify opportunities. To do this, we work by integrating services structured into 3 pillars in a complementary way: carbon strategies, circularity strategies and innovation, and stakeholder engagement.
In 2022 we worked with 42 clients in 13 countries, doubling our YoY sales growth and making an incredible impact: USD $24 million was invested in sustainable projects, resulting in the reduction or compensation of 3 million tons of CO2e, the recovery of 58 tons of materials, and training of 57,000 individuals on environmental responsibility and sustainable development practices.
I spent more than 14 years in sustainable development, innovation, environment, facilitation, new business models, and education industries. I served as the Director of Innovation for Sustainable Development and Director of New Technologies for Sustainable Development at the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development of the Nation. I received my master’s degree in Innovation Management (UBA), a degree in Environmental Management (CAECE), and a postgraduate degree in Energy Management (ITBA).
At Kolibri, we measure our carbon footprint (scopes 1, 2 and 3) and overcompensate our impact to not only do less harm but do good. We guarantee coherence between what we do and what we want our allies to generate through their strategies.
We also understand the positive impact as a result of an organizational culture where the environmental axis is integrated into the center of decision-making. We stand for promoting good practices and sustainable lifecycles such as the consumption of organic and fair-trade food and goods in the team. Complementarily, we generate thematic webinars and provide information so that our entire community can have affordable information on key environmental trends and aspects.
Payoneer has given us the possibility to scale up our business as we can use their different B2B services. Our customers around the world appreciate the ease to pay for our services globally as if locally. Furthermore, through Payoneer we are able to pay our contractors based in Latin America. The contractors then have the ability to use their earning as they prefer, whether that is withdrawing funds locally or making payments across the globe.
Ecommerce Business of the Year
Co-Founder, THUMBINTHAI CO., LTD.
About THUMBINTHAI CO., LTD.
THUMBINTHAI CO., LTD. manufactures and distributes products from Thailand including t-shirts, children’s shirts, hoodies, sweaters, and more with over 100,000 items ready to ship. We search for and use high-quality fabrics that are soft, comfortable, and suitable in price.
It all began as a small domestic business and then we saw the opportunity to go global. Since Covid-19 the business grew 400%. With more than 10 years of experience, we now have over 80 employees. Our customers, both domestic and international, trust us to order products that guarantee reliability.
My name is Nitcharee Ujjin, and I’m a Co-Founder of THUMBINTHAI CO., LTD. I graduated from King Mongkut’s University of Technology, Thonburi, with a major in applied computer science.
After graduation, three of my friends and I started freelancing as programmers. We all wanted to prove to our parents that we could do it, and eventually, we evolved into a startup business. Though the startup world isn’t easy, we found a new business model in manufacturing that could work for us— t-shirt printing, and this venture became THUMBINTHAI CO., LTD.
We got into the export market, which was great timing because this helped us through the pandemic. However, conducting business overseas came with many challenges and simplifying payment methods was one of them. We first heard about Payoneer through our partnership with DHL, and soon after switching to it, our lives became so much easier!
Global businesses are always looking for effective ways to pay. We found our preferred payment method with Payoneer thanks to their low transaction fees, fast processing transactions, and excellent support team that’s always there for us. Until this day, Payoneer is our go-to partner when it comes to payments. It helps us receive money from our international buyers and our customers – easily, at a low fee, and in our local currency, while being able to track the status of these payments.
Ecommerce Business of the Year
Founder & CEO, Colorpik Inc.
About Colorpik Inc.
Colorpik is committed to recreating everyday gadgets through a combination of cutting-edge technology and beautiful design to improve the quality of human life. We have created the world’s first fully digital controlled smart pen that lets our customers paint or write in over 16 million colors. This is a true revolutionary transformation of thousands of years of history of the pen!
We sell to thousands of customers worldwide each year, including the US, Canada, Australia, Europe, and beyond. We also work closely with several key technology companies and organizations such as NASA, Huawei, Texas Instrument, Montblanc, and Estée Lauder to name a few. As a high-tech company with a few cutting-edge core technologies, our YoY business is between 500-1,000%. We have applied for dozens of product and core component patents and trademarks in mainstream markets such as China and the United States, and our product is sold simultaneously on independent brand websites, Amazon, and also on social media platforms. We take pride in making our products with love and enthusiasm, and our customers are just as excited!
With more than 20 years in product design, manufacturing, sales and supply chain management, I create high tech products at the intersection of creativity, engineering, science, and the future. I have achieved over 100 patents, invented 200+ products, and built 1,000+ connections across varies industries. With 15 years of entrepreneurial experience, I have founded four companies successively which are still thriving.
Since 2014, I’ve focused on establishing a brand-new product category from scratch – the color picker pen series. The goal was to make a revolutionary, digital upgrade of the traditional pen. In 2016, I began the research and development of the Colorpik project. After years of development and optimization, we successfully introduced the product to the Kickstarter crowdfunding platform. We found that all micro-pumps available on the market were too big for us, so we developed a micro-pump smaller than a fingernail (almost the smallest micro-pump in the world) which was successfully loaded into the pen body and realized mass production.
Payoneer has been my financial partner since 2013. At that time, few people in China knew about Payoneer. I have truly witnessed the continuous growth of Payoneer in recent years – both its customer base and scale have greatly improved. Through the years I have enjoyed using many of its products and services including the integration of Payoneer Checkout. And I can see why Payoneer has won the love and support of users all over the world – they are committed to a perfect and seamless user experience, dedicated to providing services and value to customers. I hope that in the next 10 years we can grow and make progress together with Payoneer. As we share the same values, we will continue to exceed customer expectations and make the world a better place.
By winning this award, we hope to encourage more young people with dreams to innovate and create! We will stay true to our original mission and continue to create a variety of amazing products to improve human lives.
Services Business of the Year
Founder & CBO, Leamigo Technologies
About Leamigo Technologies
We are a one-stop travel marketplace connecting people globally through food, experiences, and adventures. Leamigo aims to transform the way people travel. Travel is as much about the people we meet, as it is the places we see. Leamigo’s system automatically matches travelers with local people who share similar interests and help them understand the local culture.
Leamigo works with OTA companies from around the world, including the US, UK, Spain, and Germany. Some of our clients include MMT (MakeMyTrip), Viator, Klook, Booking, GetTransfer, and Expedia. Since Covid-19, we have increased our sales exponentially from Rs. 1-1.5 million/month to Rs. 8-9 million/month, and from mid of 2022, we have been growing 20% MoM across Europe and Americas. We are currently serving 52+ countries with airport transfers and activities. Starting with a team of three, we have now grown with team size of nine travel enthusiasts, with an ARR of $1 Million USD.
For the past 15 years I was working for my family construction business while being actively involved with lot of NGO’s and counselling courses. I have already travelled to more than 20 countries and our company helps me explore more as we operate globally.
I have two co-founders who I met while traveling, Nazeeb Ahmed and Khalid Ali. They joined this venture out of the same passion for travelling as me. We are a diverse team with different backgrounds (Tech, Operations, Data Scientist, Finance) but share a common goal of changing the way people travel. Our experiences showed it can be difficult to meet someone spontaneously during our travels – there are cultural differences, language barriers and the busyness of modern life that can get in the way.
Since August 2022 Payoneer has been helping us achieve multiple payment collections across the globe. This helped us grow much faster. Payoneer has enabled us to operate as if our company were in multiple countries. With so many regulations and paperwork regarding inward remittance plus huge commissions, Payoneer was our life savior. My whole team and I thank Payoneer for its service and fantastic product experience.
Winning anything always motivates humans, and I am very confident this award will help me and my team to work harder and create the future of travel. This will clearly show we are doing something which is impacting people’s lives.
Services Business of the Year
CEO & Owner, Four Winds Digital LTD
About Four Winds Digital LTD
Four Winds is a performance advertising agency with entities in Serbia, the United States, and the United Kingdom. We provide our clients with full scope advertising service with a specific “pay per sale” model.
We started as a team of two with the idea to restructure how traditional agencies work, especially with challenging clients from the ecommerce space.
With over 110 clients from 23 countries including the US, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, UAE, Hong-Kong, and Mexico, our team of account managers, advertising and platform specialists, designers, and customer care managers supports customers in matter of minutes on a daily basis.
In less than two years, Four Winds became one of the most recognized performance teams in the ecomm space. Our customers can rely on us and utilize all the benefits of an authorized marketing partner, and great relationships we nurture with advertising networks, where we are able to offer our clients custom payment terms, credit lines and no-spending cap status and much more. This results in a spike in our customers’ performance, protecting customers’ cash flow, and improvement in inventory management, as the logistics gap made by lack of cash flow health is erased and overall – gives us more space to make result with our work.
Efficiency is crucial for any part of the ecommerce process, making our collaboration with Payoneer so crucial for us. Having the opportunity to treat international B2B payments as local ones introduced a new dimension of banking transfers. We can focus on stability, speed, and service quality without any geographic limitations. The variety of bank accounts and currencies remarkably contributed to saving hours of bureaucracy. This time we now invest in business development, knowing that our business is safe and in good hands.
Early in my college days in the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, I was introduced to the concept of freelancing. The ability to work on any project from anywhere in the world seemed like a dream. With that “freedom” in mind, I jumped on the bandwagon and never looked back.
My first paycheck came after I helped the owner of a local restaurant book more table reservations. People would simply write me on the Facebook page I was managing, and I would call the restaurant and make reservations in their name. That was the first 10.000 RSD (roughly 80 EUR) monthly retainer. To me it felt like a million dollars at that moment.
Fast forward to today, we are one of the biggest advertisers in the region. The recipe behind our success is simple: a unique business model that is scalable and (almost) risk-free, as the client pays only for the results, fully transparent client communication, and a measurable impact on client’s business. Besides, we let our clients focus on their business while we take care of their advertisement needs.
Four Winds is a privately owned, profitable company, with zero debt / credit / third party capital, working with clients from ecommerce and service space from 23 countries worldwide, and counting. Our goal is to expand our service in other verticals and advertising landscapes, alongside with launching complementary services in the capital and tech space.
Through their B2B services, Payoneer has helped us to receive payments from our international customers as well as to pay advertising agencies and global top management in our company.
This award allows me to demonstrate how an agency should be run in the 21st century and how to improve the traditional broken business model by leveraging established standard operating procedures and elevating the company’s growth.