Announcing the 2022 Entrepreneurship Award Winners
The story of Payoneer is best told through the stories of our customers, who impact the way we buy, sell, consume, engage, work, earn and learn in our increasingly digital and interconnected global world. What they all have in common is that they see a world of opportunity that is growing because of digitalization, creating unbounded potential to build a successful business and leave a legacy.
For the past six years, Payoneer has celebrated the spirit of entrepreneurship that powers the digital economy with our annual Entrepreneurship Awards. We are grateful to the 4,315 entrepreneurs from 170 countries who shared their stories with us – each one inspires and motivates us to keep working hard to help more small businesses like you make an impact on the world.
Congratulations to this year’s winners who inspire us and embody the Payoneer spirit. Check out their stories below:
Disruptor of the Year
Starting my own business has given me a sense of pride and truthfully shocked me into the belief that so much is possible, if you just take the first step, then another and then another
TrueSooth is a company that was created by women supporting women by continuously striving to produce and deliver solution-based breast pain relief products that truly make a difference to women all over the world. Our team is built by women each in a different stage of life’s epic journey, facing similar but different challenges.
I’m Candice, the founder of TrueSooth. The dream has always been to own my own business and to create lovely, useful items and gifts for women. I can’t quite believe how much I have learnt over the last 18 months and believe this is still only the beginning of things to come. The idea for TrueSooth’s first breastfeeding therapy product was seeded during my personal struggles through my breastfeeding journey. The post breast surgery recovery set came to be after I lost a special friend to breast cancer. The development of these first products was through the collaboration of a strong and brave group of women (friends, sister, and mother) each of us in different stages of life’s epic journey. From our first sale back on the 12th Nov 2020, we have listened to the special women who have supported TrueSooth through the purchase of a product.
We have made a number of changes to the products which have enabled TrueSooth to grow and learn. In mid-2021, we decided to start a gift set range, and have trialled two sets (which we will move forward with) and looking to launch four more over the next six months. Thanks to this, in Q2 only, TrueSooth experienced a peak in growth of 650%.
About the values that are my main drive – I will boldly and proudly say I have more than enough passion to share! I expect this from others I work with, as if passion is not there the full potential of the project will not be achieved. Mediocrity is not an option, whether in my business or personal life as a mum to Lucy and Liam and wife.
Payoneer has been a lifeline when it comes to managing money in the US. I am based in Australia and when first exploring how non-US citizens can hold, pay and receive USD could work, I felt extremely overwhelmed. Businesses need partners they can depend on, and I position Payoneer as one of those partners. I trust them to keep this area of my business safe and in order, which I am very grateful for.
Socially Responsible Business of the Year
Archana Garodia Gupta
Founder & CEO, Touchstone
We hope more businesses like ours will spur an increase in handicraft exports from India, and provide employment to rural artisans, while preserving our intangible craft heritage.
Touchstone is the pioneer and the oldest national brand in the field of Indian Ethnic Costume Jewelry since 1996. We make the enormous treasure of Indian jewelry available to all by recreating traditional designs from across India at affordable prices. We tap the wealth of Antique Indian designs for our products and introduce the work of promising new designers.
Two major passions in my life have been to preserve and disseminate Indian heritage and culture, and to work to empower women. I have also been involved in many activities and part of many forums to economically empower women. I was national president of FICCI Ladies Organisation, the premier business forum for women in India, and created many initiatives to train and develop women entrepreneurs at all levels. I have written bestselling books on Indian history, including on women rulers of India.
We started manufacturing and retailing handmade costume jewelry under our brand Touchstone 25 years ago. Our focus was on translating the enormous heritage of Indian jewelry into forms usable in the modern world. We were to first to establish Pan-India retail in this category. We were amongst the earliest to get into eCommerce through various portals, selling in India as well as globally. We expanded our range to products using Indian heritage textiles like scarves, home linen, and fabric masks during the pandemic.
Throughout this journey, we have made sure that the bulk of our direct employees are women. We also work with male and female artisans in villages across the country to source our products. We keep an element of Indian heritage in our styles and try and use local handmade fabrics and other handicraft components.
Since we made these products available in the International markets with Amazon, our business has grown exponentially, with a 15X growth in export over the last 4 years. We have created a successful and profitable business exporting products produced by these craftspeople using traditional designs and techniques. We hope this will encourage entrepreneurs to use this treasure of craftspeople to create markets for their products across the world.
The scope is tremendous. The world market for handcrafted goods is about USD 400 billion at present. India only supplies about USD 1 Billion USD.
eCommerce Business of the Year
Co-founder and CEO, AutoDS
“Winning the Entrepreneurship Awards will help us to show people that dropshipping is a legitimate business model supported by big companies like Payoneer, and that everyone can start working and make money online using this business model without large investments for education.”
AutoDS is a one-stop shop dropshipping solution based in Tel Aviv, Israel. We founded AutoDS in 2016 with the simple goal of helping other dropshippers automate their online sales processes. AutoDS dropshippers can enjoy integrating our automation tool with the biggest global eCommerce platforms, such as eBay, Wix, Shopify and Facebook Marketplace. Currently there are over 10,000 dropshippers who use AutoDS, with 35% YOY growth mostly based in the US, then UK, Israel, and Europe.
I’m 26 years old. Back In 2009, I started my first dropshipping business purely by accident.
I was looking to buy a new mobile phone when I discovered that the same phone was more expensive on eBay compared to another website. So, I decided to create a listing using the product details from eBay, with a slightly higher price. Within 3-4 hours, the phone sold. This led me, at the age of 14, to open my first eBay dropshipping business, followed by my first eCommerce store in Israel. During high school, I continued selling on my store and started my first website development business.
Initially, I started AutoDS as a tool to automatically run my own dropshipping businesses. After attending dropshipping conferences and sharing AutoDS with others, my goal became more oriented towards helping other dropshippers create successful businesses too. The market was in need of automation software like AutoDS. In 2016, AutoDS was launched as a tool for other dropshippers to use. After six months we released the software to all dropshippers and now our customers manage over 10K stores & over 10M products. Ever since, every AutoDS member follows our main mission: To help dropshippers succeed by saving time and automating their dropshipping businesses.
Now, AutoDS fully manages and automates 10K+ dropshipping stores and employs 80 team members from 13 different countries. I’m still an active dropshipper and manage a dropshipping empire with over 35 different eCommerce stores.
We believed in remote work even before the effects of COVID-19, as freedom is one of our core company values. Everyone should be able to work from anywhere at any time. We also offer free training programs and updates on the newest dropshipping strategies, including a completely free Shopify dropshipping course, eBooks, webinars, a mentorship program, 400+ YouTube videos, and a podcast.
As a global company, with employees in over 13 different countries and many different payment methods, Payoneer helps us to stay global and optimize our finances through easy payment management and comfortable currency conversion rates.
Freelance Business of the Year
Director of Content Production and Distribution, Ideaphilos Comunicacion
“We want to focus on this award being a positive example for young people, contributing to forming a more fair, equal, and humane society, with respect and tolerance.”
Ideaphilos is a marketing agency helping global businesses generate content in digital marketing, provide graphic design, and social media solutions.
I started my career as a producer and production director for Telemundo for more than 18 years. During this time, I had the opportunity to carry out various coverages of international importance in the news area for Telemundo and NBC and, at the same time, provide service through the Telemundo bureau in Mexico to productions such as the Latin Billboard Music Awards.
In 2018, I decided to undertake a new adventure as General Director of El Financiero Bloomberg, a TV channel specialized in finance, economics and business, where I managed to rebrand the television station and give it a formal transition to enrich its screen with new talents and programs. A year later, I accepted an offer to join Ideaphilos Comunicación as a partner, creating a new business area with the incorporation of freelance cameramen and journalists in practically all the states of Mexico. Ideaphilos Communication was born with the dream of creating a more efficient industry, but above all with the idea of creating jobs, helping entrepreneurs achieve their goals and making more successful businesses (regardless of their size) throughout the world.
We are an inclusive company, almost entirely made up of women. Why? In the search for our team members, the most qualified profiles have been those of women. We actively participate in communication campaigns of Civil Society organizations, focus on gender equity, inclusion and sexual and reproductive rights. We have also created a series of videos to promote education on children with disabilities.
2021 was a very successful year for us, as turnover growth came in 500% higher than 2020. Ideaphilos, as an agency offers the full range of communication that the client needs, from digital communication and social networks, strategic communication, public relations, media and Heartwired methodology, to news production, breaking news coverage and production of massive events or streaming. Although we are based in Mexico City, our customers are based mainly in the US and Canada.
Payoneer was an unexpected ally at the right moment for the agency. The intuitive platform, transaction security, low-cost transfers from US to Mexico, and the fast transition from digital cash to bank flow allow us to work with confidence for our clients.
Entrepreneur of the Year
“Products are the things that enable an enterprise to stay competitve, so we calm down and polish our products until the market recognizes us. We will always create the most popular products for our customers and maintain our status as the trendsetter of pet home furnishing.”
Laifug® is committed to bringing a more comfortable and functional living environment to pets. While we focus on everything from dog beds to pet furniture, the scope of Laifug® design is changing. What remains unchanged is our original intention – to create a splendid life for pets. All our work revolves around this core focus.
I’m the CEO of Laifug®. After graduating from university, I entered the logistics industry, successfully working in two logistics companies. After resigning from DHL, I started thinking about starting my own business. That’s how Laifug® came about, founded in 2016 with a friend. Since then, it’s grown into a business with more than 20 employees. Laifug® has four main categories: dog beds, wooden pet furniture, pet toys, and pet clothing. Laifug®is growing at an annual rate of about 60% in GMV. In 2019, Laifug® proposed a three-year plan, hoping to reach annual sales of $9 million by the end of 2022.
At the beginning, our products were relatively simple, with only a few dog bed products. But these were key products that were carefully polished and were very popular with the public. Since then, with the expansion of Amazon in China, Laifug® gradually grew from three or four sellers to a small enterprise with 20 team members, multiple product lines, and development in multiple channels. We sell on Amazon, Wayfair, eBay and our own webstore with customers mainly in North America, Europe and Australia.
Laifug’s products have expanded from dog beds to pet household items, including cat shelters, pet clothing, and pet toys. Our goal is to become a trendsetter in pet home furnishing, providing comfort to all pets around the world. At present, we have three major channels: the platform category, including Amazon and Wal-Mart, the independent station, and the channel agent.
After several years of development, we have become a company with monthly sales of 400,000 USD, growing from an independent seller to a small business. I believe that this award is first and foremost a recognition of the work of my colleagues and a motivator for future development. Our original intention has not changed, we will always create the most popular products for our customers and become the leader of pet home trends.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing. We experienced operational difficulties in 2018-2019. In 2020, I decided to develop on Amazon, Shopify, and other channels. I believe that the core competitiveness of the enterprise is product, so I attach great importance to product research and development. I really appreciate Payoneer’s value of safety to my clients. I believe Payoneer’s international footprints and wide range of product make them an accountable business partner for cross-border sellers.
Congratulations to all the winners and thank you to everyone who participated!