11 May 2015

Lateefa AlWaalan is named Saudi Arabia's EY Entrepreneur Of The Year

Lateefa AlWaalan, founder and GM of Yatooq, an Arabic coffee startup, has been named Saudi Arabia’s EY Entrepreneur Of The Year (EOY) 2015.

AlWaalan was chosen from a group of 11 finalists* from 10 companies 
by the independent panel of judges. The judging criteria included entrepreneurial spirit, financial performance, strategic direction, social impact and influence. 

Fahad Altoaimi, Office Managing Partner, Riyadh and Entrepreneur Of The Year Leader, EY, said the award honours AlWaalan’s business achievements, innovation and contribution to her community. "Lateefa AlWaalan will join the Entrepreneur Of The Year award winners from over 50 countries at Monte Carlo in June 2015, where she will be inducted into the World Entrepreneur Of The Year Academy and will vie for the World Entrepreneur Of The Year award,” he said. 

According to the Yatooq website, blond spiced coffee is the way coffee is traditionally drunk in the Gulf, but has a long brewing process and can often have an inconsistent taste. "Arabic coffee is delicious to have but not so easy to make. The brewing process takes up to 30 minutes and is still done manually. One out of ten times we would perfect the coffee," states the 'About Us' section of the Yatooq website. "We wanted to know why, and from there it all started." 

Today, the Yatooq online store features a coffee maker and different blends of instant Arabic coffee, including versions with cloves and ginger. The products are also available at physical locations in Saudi Arabia, UAE and Kuwait.

EY’s EOY is a business award for entrepreneurs. The event has been running for 28 years by EY in 145 cities across 60 countries. The award makes a difference through the unique way it encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential and recognises the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. EOY celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognising them through regional, national and global awards programmes in more than 145 cities in 60 countries.

In Saudi Arabia, EOY 2015 was held under the patronage of HE Dr Tawfiq Al Rabiah, Minister of Commerce and Industry, the Strategic Partner of the event.


Read the Livejournal blog post about how Omani coffee is prepared.
Read a University of Washington alumni profile of Alwaalan.

*The other 10 finalists are: Ebrahim Aljassim from Hunger Station, Falah Aljarba from DB Security, Faris Alturki from Faris breakfast, Khalid Alkhudair from Glowork, Majed Althagafi from Ibtikar, Mohammed Suqer and Mohammed Al-Bahkali from Five Design Solutions, Naif Alasmari from Sugar Sprinkles, Rayan AlWabil from Rayz Co, Sahar Aldahash from The Learning Zone.