Nominations close for this year’s EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards programme at the end of February and I’m reminded of some of the amazing, innovative and inspirational business owners that I’ve had the pleasure to see be recognised through the years, writes Stuart Wilkinson, Office Partner at EY in Cambridge.
Passionate, committed and skilled, but certainly not average, are all words that I’d use to describe the entrepreneurs that have been through the programme, including Cambridge’s most recent winner, Martin Frost, CEO of CMR Surgical, who picked up the top honour in the ‘disruptor category’ in 2019.
CMR Surgical is an incredible business, which aims to transform surgery for millions of people worldwide. Borne out of Cambridge, Martin and his team established a new kind of global medical devices business, breaking the convention to make surgical robotics accessible to all.
This year, the Entrepreneur of the Year programme will celebrate over two decades of success in the UK and over 30 years worldwide, honouring the trail-blazing business leaders across the globe.
In the UK, the programme runs in four regions, London and the South East, Midlands and South West, North and Scotland, with entrants competing regionally for a place in the UK finals and a chance to join entrepreneurs from 50 countries for the global titles. The East of England forms part of London and South East region.
Categories in the programme are Disruptor, Rising Star, Scale-up, Sustained Excellence, Societal Impact, Transformational Leader and a specially chosen award for EY Lifetime Achievement.
Entrepreneurs are judged against diverse criteria, which includes entrepreneurial spirit, innovation, national and global impact, personal integrity and purpose-driven leadership, strategic direction, and value creation.
We’d like to see more entries from our East of England region and would encourage business owners and entrepreneurs to get involved.
Our region is the fourth most populated in the UK and is one of the fastest growing in terms of population and economy, this despite the blip caused by three years of Brexit uncertainty.
There are significant contrasts across the region however, with large swathes of rural and coastal areas, sitting alongside the major towns and cities. High GDP per capita and low unemployment all make the region more accessible for entrepreneurs in several key sectors.
The region has a heavy reliance on the service sector economy and financial services, yet innovative manufacturing, automotive, ICT and pharmaceuticals continue to lead the charge for entrepreneurial activity.
If we take Cambridge as a prime example, its entrepreneurial success has in large part been due to the reach of the University, the presence of several science parks, incubators and innovation centres.
And, according to the University of Cambridge’s designated Entrepreneurship Centre its moniker The Cambridge Cluster, or Silicon Fen, is fitting as it has become one of the most successful technology clusters in Europe.
Innovators at the University have also had a massive impact on the economy and the wider community; over 1,600 companies have been created employing more than 30,000 people.
We also see similar entrepreneurial focus in the other towns and cities in the region and let’s not forget our amazing rural entrepreneurs.
I’m mindful that not enough is being done to shout about the success of businesses and entrepreneurs across the region. And, that’s where EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award can help.
So, what are you waiting for? Get involved and tell your story of entrepreneurial innovation and success. Visit https://www.ey.com/en_uk/entrepreneur-of-the-year
And why not follow @EOY_UK on Twitter for more information and regular updates.
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