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9 July 2012

Ernst & Young London & South Entrepreneur of the Year

LEBARA FOUNDER AND CEO NAMED
ERNST & YOUNG ‘LONDON & SOUTH’ ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR
Yoganathan Ratheesan, Founder and CEO of Lebara, has been named Ernst & Young ‘London & South’ Entrepreneur of the Year 2012.
The awards celebrate the most inspiring business people in the country, with the judges describing Ratheesan as an ‘astute businessman’ and ‘hugely impressive entrepreneur’. He now joins 15 other regional finalists competing for the title of UK Entrepreneur of the Year, to be announced in October.
Ratheesan co-founded Lebara in 2001, at the age of 25, with the clear aim of transforming the international calling market by providing ethnic and migrant communities with high quality, low cost solutions for keeping in touch with family and friends. More than ten years on, Lebara is one of the world’s fastest growing mobile companies, with some 4 million active customers, 1,000 employees and operations in eight countries. In the last three years its revenues have grown by €278 million, and operating profits by €11 million. The company’s vision is to be the brand of choice for 1 billion people globally by 2020.
Dave Hales, London & South leader of Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, said: “Ratheesan has tailored a new breed of mobile products and services that benefit both the caller and the receiver. In doing so he is the leading mobile supplier to ethnic migrant communities by creating a ‘debt free’ company that delivers excellent service, with an excellent team of people.”
Ratheesan Yoganathan added: “I feel privileged to have been selected as a finalist in these prestigious awards. Our success is first and foremost down to the people that work for Lebara and our strong network of partners. As a team of people we have a deep respect and empathy for each and every customer and the markets we serve. It is this respect, trust and integrity that lies at the heart of Lebara and everything we do. I would like to pass on my sincere gratitude to all our employees, partners and customers without whom Lebara would not exist today.”
Lebara provides Pay As You Go mobile SIM cards and related products and services to ethnic and migrant communities. In 2011, it expanded its capabilities by launching Lebara Money in the UK, a simple and secure prepaid MasterCard®, offering highly competitive exchange rates and no transfer fees for customers wishing to send money abroad.
The company also supports disadvantaged children across the world through the Lebara Foundation, an initiative very close to Ratheesan’s heart and a personal highlight of his career. Established in 2008, the Foundation provides sustainable solutions to help displaced children by giving them access to housing, food, clean water and education. To date the Lebara Foundation has helped more than 200,000 children globally, and Ratheesan is committed to helping many more.
The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards have been running globally for the last 26 years, across 140 cities in 50 countries. This year’s UK regional finalists have combined revenues of £18 billion, they’ve created jobs for 63,000 people, and have grown their businesses by 20% in the last year. Judges were impressed by their ‘innovation, entrepreneurship, risk-taking, and desire to grow globally’.
Ratheesan and Debbie O'Hanlon, Senior Partner - Ernst & Young Ratheesan and Stuart Watson, Senior Partner - Ernst & Young
About Lebara
Lebara is one of Europe’s leading mobile telecoms operators, enhancing the lives of ethnic and migrant communities by providing high quality and low cost international mobile products and services. Lebara provides Pay As You Go mobile SIM cards and related products and services customised to serve the international communities in seven European countries as well as Australia. In March 2011, it expanded its services by launching Lebara Money in the UK, a simple and secure MasterCard® prepaid card, offering highly competitive exchange rates and no transfer fees for customers wishing to send money abroad.
In March 2012, Lebara was awarded the “Best Customer Service” Award for the second year running at the UK’s Mobile News Awards 2012, beating fierce competition. Lebara also received the “Best Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO)” accolade for the third year running. The awards recognise excellence, best- practice and innovation in the UK’s mobile telecommunications industry. In addition, Lebara was the recipient of a Best Company ‘one to watch’ award in January 2012. For more information visit www.lebara.com.