Skip to content
Join our Newsletter
Join our Newsletter
Sponsored Content

Celebrating an audacious vision: distinguished entrepreneur of the year

Anthony von Mandl, founder & CEO of the Mark Anthony Group, takes the stage

For almost two decades, the Peter B. Gustavson School of Business at the University of Victoria has celebrated innovation, entrepreneurial excellence and community impact with the Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year Award (DEYA).

This year’s award recipient, Anthony von Mandl, is the founder and CEO of international drinks company the Mark Anthony Group. In addition to pioneering high-end wine-making in the Okanagan Valley with the iconic Mission Hill Family Estate, von Mandl also created several ‘new to world’ beverage categories and iconic brands, including White Claw Hard Seltzer and Mike’s Hard Lemonade. His portfolio of fine wines has been recognized internationally, winning awards for ‘Top Chardonnay Worldwide’, ‘Best Pinot Noir in the World,’ and an unprecedented four perfect 100-point scores, the first-ever for a Canadian table wine.

Von Mandl was recognized on November 18, 2021, at the DEYA award ceremony, B.C.’s premier business gala.

“Each year, we salute a visionary entrepreneur and highlight an individual who is transforming communities and the business landscape with unbounded innovation,” says Saul Klein, dean of the Gustavson School of Business. “These distinguished entrepreneurs personify vision, passion, tenacity and resilience – all qualities that inspire the next generation of business leaders.”

Attendees of DEYA know the event for its unique themes that are personalized to each recipient’s achievements and interests and the inspiring first-person commentary provided.

Gustavson students also benefit from a front-row seat to the life stories of the DEYA recipients, as each year, they engage with them in the classroom.

“Entrepreneurial success for me is about curiosity,” says von Mandl. “It’s about realizing that the status quo means the end. It takes a relentless focus on quality and requires continually striving to be the best you can be.”

Since the award’s inaugural recipient, Jeff Mallett (former president and COO of Yahoo!), in 2004, the business school has recognized 18 inspirational leaders for their entrepreneurial excellence, many of whom return each year to welcome the latest member to their exclusive club. The 2020 recipient, Jim Pattison, who could not be recognised at a formal event last year, also joined the celebration this year.

In the face of climate change and expanding social and economic fractures, business students are graduating into a world of uncharted territory. From exploring entirely new ways of doing business to fostering ideas for positive social change, entrepreneurship and innovation are at the heart of DEYA and Gustavson.

“Innovation – a trait essential for any successful entrepreneur - is something we seek to foster in all our business students,” says Klein. “We often think of entrepreneurs as people who thrive under uncertainty, see setbacks as opportunities in disguise, and rise up when there are problems to be solved. Recipients of the DEYA Award exemplify these traits. We are proud as a school to foster this connection between the most brilliant entrepreneurial minds and the business community right here in B.C.”