The EY World Entrepreneur of the Year title for 2018 has been taken out by Brazil's Rubens Menin, chair of property development company MRV Engenharia.
Menin, the first South American to win the award, was commended by the judges for his work housing some of the poorest communities in Brazil.
At a ceremony held in Monaco, 62-year-old Menin was named the supreme winner out of 56 finalists from 46 countries.
Menin founded MRV, a house building and real estate company, in 1979 when he was 21-years-old.
Since then, it has grown into the country's largest real estate developer and leading low-income house building business.
Last year, the firm posted operating revenue of US$1.44b ($2.07b).
It employs more than 24,000 people, operates in 150 cities and has delivered more than 320,000 houses and apartments in Brazil.
In his speech, Menin said it wasn't enough to be a profitable company, business also had to have purpose to be sustainable.
The judges said they had chosen Menin for his passion and business sense as well as the social aspect of the company.
"Rubens has a passion for seeking a fairer and more egalitarian society," said Jim Nixon, chairman and chief executive of Nixon Energy Investments and chair of the judging panel.
"It's a wonderful story with the right balance of business entrepreneurialism, social entrepreneurialism, and a real purpose of improving the world."
Menin's innovation was also commended, particularly through a building system which means a four storey building with 16 housing units could be built in ten days.
EY global chair and chief executive Mark Weinberger said since founding the business almost 40 years ago, Menin had continued to display "entrepreneurial passion" and dedication to improving the world.
His son Rafael and nephew Eduardo Fischer are also involved in the business as co-chief executives with Menin's daughter Maria employed as its chief legal officer.
New Zealand's country winner Peter Harris from CBL Insurance withdrew from the global competition after the company ran into financial difficulty.