EY Entrepreneur of the Year

November 1, 2017

February 28, 2018

Awards Description

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2018 UK programme now open for nominations.

The EY Entrepreneur Of The Year programme celebrates the success of entrepreneurs, the positive impact they’re making on society and the economy, and the legacies they’re building. The UK programme, which marks its 20th anniversary in 2018, is more than a business award, it’s a global programme that helps and supports entrepreneurial businesses in more than 150 cities in over 60 countries.


Why get involved?

    •  Expand your business network
      Meet key business leaders, investors and other entrepreneurs on your journey and connect with our accomplished alumni community.
    •  Be inspired
      Hear from entrepreneurs who are achieving great things and learn from their inspirational stories.
    •  Gain valuable insight
      Get valuable insight from our panel of independent expert judges and learn from our highly experienced entrepreneurs and key business people who are excelling in their industries.
    •  Celebrate the growth of entrepreneurs
      Join us in celebrating the amazing contribution UK entrepreneurs are making to our economy and the legacy they’re building.
    •  Promote your brand
      Drive brand awareness and visibility, and enhance your personal and company brands, with access to Entrepreneur Of The Year marketing tools.


Do you know an entrepreneur who should be recognised?  Nominate now



Recognising entrepreneurs with the vision and courage to challenge the status quo.

The Disruptor award focuses on entrepreneurs who are more than just innovators – they push boundaries and take steps to revolutionise an existing industry or enter into or create a completely new one. The award will be presented to an individual who is shaping and improving our working world and constantly striving for excellence.

Rising Star*

Focusing on entrepreneurs who have not only identified an opportunity, but have also capitalised on it in a forward-thinking, creative way.

The award celebrates ambitious entrepreneurs who have started a business which is growing quickly and has generated excitement in the marketplace. The business’ revenue and profits will reflect its fast growth nature.

*Business must be incorporated for 2–7 years only.

Scale Up

Recognising today’s most exciting established entrepreneurs who have experienced a significant step change in growth or seen their business take off in recent years.

The Scale Up category celebrates entrepreneurs who are positively impacting their industry and economy. The award will be presented to a purpose-driven entrepreneur who can demonstrate strong growth in revenue, sales, market share, headcount or expansion in recent times.

Sustained Excellence

Celebrating entrepreneurs’ contribution to the UK economy over a considerable period of time.

The Sustained Excellence award recognises entrepreneurs able to demonstrate a clear track record of success over many years, while continuing to build on their accomplishments with a forward-thinking attitude through innovation and new market entry. Open not only to those who have led their business to great heights, but also to serial entrepreneurs who have started and led one business after another, or many businesses concurrently.

Transformational Leader

Recognising individuals with the vision to lead an organisation to bigger and better things.

The Transformational Leader award celebrates entrepreneurs who have identified challenges for their business and been instrumental in overcoming them. The individual, who may or may not be the business’ founder, will have a proven track record managing a positive reversal of financial or market fortune.

Building a Better Working World*

Recognising and celebrating an entrepreneur inspired to make the world work better.

The Building a Better Working World is a special award acknowledging an entrepreneur who is delivering positive social impact. A nod to EY’s organisational purpose, this special award highlights the role business plays in driving change and making the world work better.

*This category is not open to nominations. Finalists are selected by the independent judging panel.


  • The business must be based, or have its chief operations, in the UK, and have been incorporated for two years as of 1 January 2018.
  • The business leader is responsible for the company’s success and has been in post a minimum of two years as of 1 January 2018.
  • The business leader has a significant personal financial stake in the business, either directly or via share options.

Judging criteria

Entrepreneur Of The Year is judged by an independent judging panel made up of Entrepreneur Of The Year alumni, entrepreneurs, and key influences from the business community.

The judges look for:

Entrepreneurial spirit

  •  Strong leadership skills and an unflinching desire and determination to be successful.
  •  Perseverance in the face of adversity and the ability to overcome obstacles.
  •  Has learned from difficult experiences and disappointments.
  •  Understands the value of teamwork, but also has the capacity to be an independent thinker.


  •  Pioneers a new approach or business model in product, culture or processes.
  •  Uses continuous improvement to anticipate and embrace change in a competitive environment.
  •  Creates a culture of innovation within their organisation.

National and global impact

  •  Can measure national and global impact with either revenue, operational, or influential presence in international markets.
  •  Creates jobs and improves living economics in these markets.
  •  If doing business overseas, has a strategy and the potential to expand abroad.

Personal integrity and purpose-driven leadership

  •  Has earned great respect and a highly-regarded reputation from their key stakeholders (staff, competitors, customers, advisers, family, and the wider community) for living their values.
  •  Is committed to the organisation’s purpose and the highest ethical and quality standards.
  •  Cultivates an inclusive, flexible workplace.
  •  Maintains a strong sense of personal purpose, inspires positive social and environmental change, and has made a strong philanthropic contribution to their community.

Strategic direction

  •  Creates and turns business visions into business realities.
  •  Builds and rebuilds their team’s commitment to common goals.
  •  Demonstrates the ability to produce new and innovative products that differentiate themselves from their competitors.
  •  Demonstrates operational excellence to optimise their organisation’s structures and processes.
  •  Demonstrates entrepreneurial maturity by building strategic alliances and surrounding themselves with talented people in order to share knowledge and empower others.

Value creation

  •  Creates value for stakeholders through the effective development and deployment of the organisation’s strategic capabilities in-line with its stated purpose.
  •  Their value is reflected in the strength of the organisation’s financial performance, development of human capital and sustainability.

Headline sponsor

EY - LGT Vestra

LGT Vestra is one of the few global wealth management firms in private ownership. Founded in 2008, it is a UK-based partnership between LGT, wholly owned by the Princely Family of Liechtenstein, and the executive partners. The private ownership ensures financial stability which enables it to adopt a long-term approach to client relationships and investment decisions. As the firm is run by entrepreneurs, it is best placed to understand the issues and the investment perspective of fellow entrepreneurs and thus guide them through their financial requirements both before and after exit.

Their fresh approach to wealth management, by refusing to take third party commissions enabled them to build a strong reputation for openness and transparency. This has led to a growth in assets under management to £8.3billion at the end of April 2017. It employs 240 members of staff and has 40 partners.

Visit LGT Vestra’s website for entrepreneurs »

Associate sponsor

EY - Merrill Corporation

Merrill Corporation provides technology-enabled platforms and workflow solutions supporting secure content collaboration and multi-channel fulfilment for capital markets transactions, compliance and regulated communications and marketing. Clients trust Merrill’s premium service delivery, innovative cloud-based applications and deep subject expertise to successfully navigate the secure sharing of their most sensitive content, perfect and distribute critical financial and regulatory disclosures, and create customized communications across stakeholders. With more than 3,800 people in 47 locations worldwide, clients turn to Merrill when their need to manage complex content intersects with the need to collaborate securely around the globe.

Visit Merrill Corporation’s website »

Media partner

EY - Financial Times

The Financial Times (FT) is one of the world’s leading news organisations, recognised globally for its authority, integrity and accuracy. The FT provides a broad range of essential services, including news, comment, data and analysis, to a growing audience of internationally minded professionals.

Visit the Financial Times website »


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