EY has announced its EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ UK regional winners, with four businesses from Yorkshire making the shortlist. They will join 20 other entrepreneurs, representing 17 businesses, from across the country in the UK finals in November.
This year’s finalists highlight the vibrant diversity of Yorkshire’s entrepreneurial landscape, with companies representing the manufacturing, energy, technology, professional services and consumer services industries. The Yorkshire regional winners were selected by a judging panel formed of five Northern business leaders.
Among the Yorkshire winners, picking up the ‘Sustained Excellence’ category accolade, are Luke Smith and James Smith, Managing Directors of A-Safe HQ. Having seen a gap in the market for plastic industrial safety, Luke and James quickly set about transforming their company into a worldwide powerhouse in workforce safety.
Together, Luke and James say they have continually strived to “do the unexpected” and have adopted a “global but local approach.” Luke and James possess a strong belief that they, together with their team and customers, are a “family.”
EY’s Entrepreneur Of The Year™ judges were impressed by the brothers’ calculated risk-taking and their ambition to grow with real purpose. They were also commended for the clever technology and digital innovation which underpins their manufacturing company and allows for future scaling of their business.
In another double triumph, Jordan Brompton and Lee Sutton, Co-Founders of myengeri have also reached the UK finals, as they were jointly named this year’s Rising Star award winners. Operating in the eco-tech space, Jordan and Lee have pushed boundaries through pioneering green technologies, including the zappi EV charger. The duo’s determination to succeed is demonstrated by their business’ growth from sending out a handful of units by post to now manufacturing tens of thousands of products for global distribution.
Recognised by judges as industry experts, Jordan and Lee combined differential technological innovation with the demands of sustainability savvy consumers to deliver their greener energy solutions. The judges were really impressed with their commitment to sustainability which is evident throughout their business model.
This year’s ‘Transformational Leader’ category prize was awarded to Karen Betts, CEO of Nouveau HD Beauty Group, who will also compete in the UK finals. Based in Pontefract, Nouveau HD Beauty Group develops and delivers professional beauty training, treatments and products including permanent makeup, medical tattooing and skin therapies. With a mission to help people living with burns and scars feel more confident about themselves, Karen has unified the brands under one roof and built a strong team to serve and support her clients.
Judges described Karen as an aspirational entrepreneur, highlighting her ability to navigate her beauty services business through the pandemic and seize new opportunities. They commented on how she has found new approaches within a challenging and competitive environment that remain aligned to her key values.
Gary Gallen, CEO of rradar, a digitally-led specialist litigation and commercial law firm based in Hull, was also recognised as a regional winner as he topped the ‘Disruptor’ category. Gary set-up rradar nine years ago with the goal of helping SMEs navigate a complex legal system by offering legal advice via a suite of digital tools.
Judges commented that Gary continued to show evolving innovation in a traditional profession and demonstrated deep knowledge of the legal industry. The judges recognised he was a clear leader who continually strived to better himself for his business and workforce.
At the UK finals, the Yorkshire regional winners will also be joined by two entrepreneurs from two businesses from the North West: Matthew Scullion, CEO of Matillion, and Michael Patel, Managing Director of Sapphire Utility Solutions.
Ben Wildsmith, EY Strategy and Transactions Partner and EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ partner sponsor in the North said: “This year’s Yorkshire winners of EY’s Entrepreneur Of The Year programme showcase some of the most ambitious, innovative and tenacious entrepreneurs across the region. Representing a range of sectors and industries, these businesses highlight Yorkshire’s strong entrepreneurial environment and thriving commercial spirit.
“Against the backdrop of a tough year, I am so proud that this programme recognises achievements and encourages the vision and role in our community of such inspiring businesses and their leaders, whilst celebrating their plans to continually grow and seize new opportunities. Having navigated their businesses through the last eighteen months, each of our regional winners have shown sheer determination and resilience. I wish them all the best of luck in the UK finals.”
Victoria Price UK EY Private Tax Leader and EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ UK Partner Lead said: “EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ tells the story of our inspiring business leaders the length and breadth of the country. We love working with entrepreneurs as they innovate, inspire and grow businesses to scale – and beyond – and we are proud to have many iconic entrepreneurial businesses come through the programme as our clients.
“Considering the challenges of the last 18 months, they have all proven themselves to be fearless in building their businesses and pushing boundaries. Through pandemic-related economic uncertainty, periods of cautious consumer spending and Brexit adjustment, when other may have said ‘no’, they have said ‘yes’ and that is what we celebrate with the programme.
“The 102 regional finalists all exhibited inspiring pioneering spirit and it will be exciting to see where each business goes next in their entrepreneurial journey – they have already proven themselves to be trailblazers and I’m pleased to welcome them into our EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ UK community.”
EY Entrepreneur Of The Year’s headline sponsor is leading Swiss wealth management group Julius Baer.
David Durlacher, CEO, Julius Baer International Limited, the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ UK Headline Sponsor said: “On behalf of everyone at Julius Baer I would like to congratulate all those who have made it through as a finalist in the EY Entrepreneur of the Year programme. It has been a pleasure to meet many of the award entrants during the course of the programme, and the quality of individuals and their businesses has been outstanding. It is inspiring to see how these entrepreneurs and their businesses are opening up new markets, driving change and becoming recognised for their achievements. Congratulations to the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ UK Finalists for 2021!”
The overall UK Entrepreneur Of The Year™ winner will be announced at an event in November. They will represent the UK at the ‘EY World Entrepreneur of the Year’ ceremony in summer 2022, a forum which attracts the world’s most inspiring entrepreneurs from more than 60 countries.