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2018 APEC BEST Award Program Winners

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Miran Kim, Founder of Shimpyo & Neukkimpyo Co., Ltd, Korea 

Overall Winner: APEC BEST Award 

Miran Kim has been an educator for 17 years. She holds an MBA and completed her PhD at the age of 37 but put her career on hold to give birth and take care of her son. Once she was ready to return to work, she found it difficult to get a job, despite her experience and education. 

Realizing that she is not the only woman who had to deal with this issue, Kim decided to do some research that resulted in the idea of being a trainer. She shared the idea with seven other friends, all highly-educated stay-at-home moms with diverse backgrounds, and started a human resource consulting company to help unemployed mothers get back to the job market. 

Kim adopted the concept of “3 Rs” – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – and adapted it to her business model. Her business aims to reduce social costs, reuse human resources and recycle careers. Kim hopes that her company can help close employment gaps and maximize the growth potential of women in the workplace.


 Scherbakova, Founder and CEO of LLC Velpharm, Russia 

Winner: The Fourth Industrial Revolution Project 

self-made entrepreneur, Scherbakova has been involved in the pharmaceutical industry for almost 20 years. She founded LLC Velpharm, a modern high-technology pharmaceutical plant, in 2016 and has successfully produced 40 brands to date. With her company, Scherbakova aims to produce high-quality drugs at affordable prices. 


Zarah Jane D. Juan, Founder of Green Leaf Eco Bags, Inc., the Philippines

Winner: Most Innovative Business Model 

Zarah Juan is a designer that turned her passion into a business that aims to sustain the many diverse communities in the Philippines. Her firm, Zarah Juan Brand designs unique bags and shoes and outsources the production of these products to various Filipino artisans. Juan’s company also provides continuous mentorship and capacity-building for the communities it engages, supporting sustainable livelihoods and promoting the uniqueness of each community. 


 Lomutopa, Founder and CEO of Ginipa Coffee, Papua New Guinea 

Winner: Best Social Impact 

A coffee farmer for 35 years, Lomutopa grew and sold parchment and green beans before she started her all-women coffee production company Ginipa Coffee in 2016.  

Lomutopa believes strongly in women’s empowerment and has been working for the past 18 years to facilitate economic opportunities for women. In addition to roasting and packaging coffee, her company also provides gender and diversity training for farmers as well as family business and financial literacy training.


Sutrisno, Founder and CEO of PT. JSL Levico Sejahtera, Indonesia 

Winner: International Attractiveness 

Focusing her fashion brand on the unique weaving style of Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT) Province of Indonesia, Sutrisno’s LeVico brand has brought designs to fashion weeks in New York and Paris in 2017 and 2018, respectively. 

Traditional weaving in NTT is done by women but is under threat due to cultural shifts and technological transformation. Sutrisno hopes to empower these local artisans as well as preserve their traditional weaving culture so that it does not become extinct.


Iwakiri, Founder and CEO of Narumi, Japan 

Winner: Highest Growth Potential Award 

Born in Japan’s Oita Prefecture, Iwakiri studied nutrition in college and combined both her hometown taste and knowledge of nutrition in Narumi, her company. Narumi produces safe, ready-made processed food using traditional ingredients from her hometown. 

The population of Iwakiri’s hometown is aging and shrinking. It is increasing pressure on the primary local industry, food production, which is facing challenges such as distribution problems, unstable incomes for suppliers and a lack of successors. Her company aims to protect the future of the local food industry, culture and community.


Dominique Viera, Founder and CEO of 
Metaproject Innovation Co., Chile 

Winner: Special Prize 

An expert in finance and market analysis, Viera started her own business, Metaproject-ICSA Consortium, which provides services for infrastructure. Currently the consortium oversees the technical inspection service of Arturo Merino Benitez International Airport, also known as Santiago International Airport.  

Viera also created Metaproject Innovation Co, a startup that leads various environmental projects related to recycling in mining, tire businesses, airports and oil refineries.