ERJ staff report (TP)
Phoenix, Arizona – Jeff Martin, co-founder and CEO of Yulex, the agricultural biomaterials firm, has been named a finalist for the Ernst & Young (EY) Entrepreneur of The Year 2014 Award in the ‘Mountain Desert’ region.
The awards program recognises entrepreneurs who “demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities”.
Since co-founding Yulex in 2000, Martin has raised over $80m (€58.3m) in funding which enabled his company to become the first commercial enterprise to produce bio-based natural rubber in North America. The company recently announced a venture with chemical company ENI Versalis to build guayule rubber capacity in Europe. Additionally, Yulex just commercialised the first product made from guayule, a plant-based wetsuit alternative to the traditional neoprene (petroleum-based) wetsuit in partnership with Patagonia.
“I’m honoured to be selected as a finalist by the Ernst & Young judges for the Entrepreneur of The Year award,” said Martin. “This award validates the success of Yulex’s crop science, biorefinery process and materials science R&D efforts as well as our business plan designed to successfully pursue large-scale guayule cultivation as an alternative to tropical rubber and synthetic rubber.”
Regional award winners will be announced at a special gala event on 10 June at the Sheraton Boston and will be eligible for consideration for the EY Entrepreneur of The Year National program. Award winners in several national categories, as well as the EY Entrepreneur of The Year National Overall Award winner, will be announced at the annual awards gala in Palm Springs, California, on 15 November.
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Press release from Yulex