PHOENIX—Jeff Martin, co-founder and CEO of Yulex Corp., the agricultural biomaterials firm, has been named a finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2014 Award in the Mountain Desert region.
The awards program recognizes entrepreneurs who “demonstrate excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities”.
Since co-founding Yulex in 2000, Martin has raised more than $80 million, helping Yulex produce bio-based natural rubber in North America. The company recently announced a venture with chemical company ENI Versalis to build guayule rubber capacity in Europe.
In addition, Yulex recently commercialized the first product made from guayule, a plant-based wetsuit alternative to the traditional neoprene wetsuit, in partnership with Patagonia.
“This award validates the success of Yulex's crop science, biorefinery process and materials science R&D efforts as well as our business plan designed to successfully pursue large-scale guayule cultivation as an alternative to tropical rubber and synthetic rubber,” Martin said.
Regional award winners will be announced June 10 at a gala at the Sheraton Boston and will be eligible for consideration for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year national program. Award winners in several national categories, as well as the EY Entrepreneur of the Year national overall award winner, will be announced at the annual awards gala in Palm Springs, Calif., on Nov. 15.