JungJin Seo has been awarded EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year 2021 during a virtual awards ceremony on June 11. 

Seo, honorary chairman of biopharmaceutical firm Celltrion, is the first winner from South Korea in the award’s 21-year history. He was picked from among 45 award winners from 38 countries and territories competing for the global award.

Seo, 63 co-founded Celltrion in 2003 with five colleagues. The firm develops drugs to treat autoimmune diseases, different forms of cancer and most recently, Covid-19. Since its founding, the firm has grown to over 2,100 employees and now has sales permits in more than 90 countries and revenues exceeding US$1.69 billion.

At the same awards ceremony, EY also honored His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales with the inaugural EY Social Entrepreneurship Award, which was established to recognise leaders focused on creating a purposeful business in society. 

See also: Nominations open for the 20th EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2021 awards

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The award was given in recognition of The Prince of Wales’ social initiatives, including The Prince’s Trust and Business in the Community. The new award will remain an annual feature and was established to recognize leaders who are focused on creating a purposeful business in society.

“After a year of incredible challenges, I’m excited to be able to recognize these two remarkable individuals for their contributions to society. Throughout his life, His Royal Highness has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to building a better world and I couldn’t envision a more worthy honoree for the inaugural EY Social Entrepreneurship Award,” says Carmine Di Sibio, EY global chairman and CEO.

 “Likewise, JungJin Seo has spent his career representing everything an unstoppable entrepreneur should be. From taking on the world’s biggest health care challenges to consistently creating long-term value for his company, JungJin is a model EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year winner. Congratulations to both on their worthy distinctions,” he adds.

Seo says he is honoured to join the group of EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year winners. “Entrepreneurship to me has always been about bringing together a group of people toward a common vision, embracing challenges as opportunities and committing oneself to contribute to the greater good. When I first started, my vision was to help patients gain access to safe, effective and affordable medicines and thereby enhance the quality of people’s lives. The success of Celltrion has enabled me to expand on this while finding new ways to fuel my entrepreneurial drive,” he says.

Cover photo: EY