Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, Founder, The Stelios Philanthropic Foundation and Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2001 United Kingdom
interviewed by Beth Brooke, Ernst & Young Global Vice Chair, Public Policy
Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou
Founder and Chairman
The Stelios Philanthropic Foundation
Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2001 United Kingdom
“If you make enough mistakes, you’ll learn,” assured Sir Stelios Haji-Iannou, speaking at World Entrepreneur Of The Year, as he encouraged entrepreneurs to enjoy the ride.
And the energetic serial entrepreneur knows what he’s talking about. Since founding the hugely successful low-cost airline easyJet, Sir Stelios has extended the brand into several businesses, which he says “reduced risk because we weren’t starting from scratch.”
He’s the first to admit that some ventures have been less successful than others, but he said extensive market research is not the answer. “Entrepreneurs should follow their gut instinct,” he said.
Today, Sir Stelios is proud to be able to give something back — what he said is the duty of all successful, established entrepreneurs. “Education, entrepreneurship and the environment are the three pillars of The Stelios Philanthropic Foundation,” he said. “It is incredibly satisfying to see students we select for scholarships get ready to change their own world.”