Founder of Perniön Rullakebabtehdas Oy, Rizah Veseli. Photo by Satu Mali

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Rizah Veseli, the founder of Perniön Rullakebabtehdas Oy, has been honored as the 'Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year' in a competition organized by the Finnish Entrepreneurs and the pension insurance company Elo. This prestigious accolade was announced during the Business Unplugged event in Helsinki, recognizing Veseli's resilience and the innovative spirit of his enterprise.

A native of Kosovo, Veseli and his family sought asylum in Finland in the early 1990s. He began his entrepreneurial journey as a restaurateur in Perniö in 1996, leading to the establishment of Perniön Rullakebabtehdas in 2006. The factory specializes in crafting convenient, ready-to-eat food products, found on the shelves of major Finnish retail groups. Unique for their handcrafted quality, including homemade dough, these products use high-quality local ingredients and have maintained the same recipe for 28 years.

Reflecting on his success, Veseli credits his entrepreneurial spirit, hard work, honesty, high-quality products, and excellent service. He draws motivation from positive feedback, with a mission to enhance factory efficiency, and improve the income and work life of his employees.

Embracing diversity, Veseli's company, which generated a turnover of 1.5 million euros last year, employs 15 people from five different cultures.

The 'Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year' competition, held for the fifth time by the Finnish Entrepreneurs and Elo, saw 25 nominees from across Finland. Elo rewarded Veseli with a prize of 5,000 euros. The jury included Pamela Spokes, chair of the Finnish Entrepreneurs’ network for immigrant entrepreneurs; Anton Goutsoul, the 2022 competition winner; Marianna Ahola, marketing director at Elo; and Jenni Parpala, vice-chair of the Finnish Entrepreneurs board.

In addition to the main prize, two honorary mentions were awarded in the competition. 'One to watch' went to Bambi Dang, a serial entrepreneur and CEO of Finest Future Oy, originally from Vietnam. 'Family entrepreneurial spirit' was awarded to Myrskylän Savu, founded by Lilia Leps, who moved from Estonia to Finland and started a fish smoking business in 2011, continuing the tradition in Myrskylä.

This competition not only celebrates the achievements of immigrant entrepreneurs but also underscores their significant contributions to the Finnish economy and society.

HT

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