Bogazici University Department of Management invites entrepreneur Hamdi Ulukaya to give a speech about entrepreneurship and innovation. Originating from a Kurdish dairy-farming family in a small village in Turkey, Ulukaya came to the U.S. in 1994 to study English and took a few business courses as well. He started a modest feta-cheese factory in 2002 on the advice of his father, but his real success came from taking a major risk: purchasing a large defunct yogurt factory in upstate New York in 2005. With no prior experience in the yogurt business, he created a yogurt empire, Chobani, that went from zero to over $1 billion in annual sales in less than five years, becoming the leading yogurt brand in the U.S. by 2011. The popularity of his Greek-style yogurt also sparked the rise in Greek yogurt’s market share in the U.S. from less than 1% in 2007 to more than 50% in 2013. Ernst & Young named Ulukaya the World Entrepreneur of the Year in 2013. The success of his yogurt empire made Ulukaya a billionaire, and according to Forbes, his net worth as of 2014 is $1.4 billion.
Being an immigrant himself as well, Ulukaya works for change and enhancement of societies. In this context, he started a Shepherd’s Gift Foundation to donate 10% of the profit he makes.
October 31, 2014, Friday, Time: 10:30am, Location: Bogazici University, Rectorate Conference Hall