How the programme works

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New Zealand programme overview

The New Zealand Entrepreneur Of The Year awards programme is run over a 9 month period, during which registrations of interest are sought from across the country in 5 award categories. From the registrations of interest, entrepreneurs are invited to complete a formal application process and enter into the awards programme.

In 2017 there will be 5 award categories, the winners of each of these award categories is determined by an independent judging panel comprised of respected entrepreneurial business leaders.

The five category winners then go on to compete for Entrepreneur Of The Year, the overall winner being announced at the Awards banquet on the 12 October at the Langham Hotel in Auckland.

The New Zealand Entrepreneur Of The Year goes on to represent New Zealand at the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards in Monte Carlo.

The 2017 award categories

Just as there are many different skills and characteristics that make up an entrepreneur, there are five EY Entrepreneur Of The Year award categories that have been established to recognise New Zealand’s best entrepreneurs.

  • Products: Retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers of products from all industries

  • Services: Providers of professional services (e.g., financial, engineering, architecture, real estate, property, recreation and leisure)

  • Technology & emerging industries: Software, hardware, telecommunications, digital media, biotechnology and health sciences

  • Young: Entrepreneurs 35 years or younger across all industries (as at 17 June 2016)

  • Master Entrepreneur: for leaders of well-established businesses which have a significant commitment to entrepreneurship

Judging criteria

The independent judging panel considers each entrepreneur finalist against the following criteria, developed and used globally in country Entrepreneur Of The Year programmes as well as EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year.

Entrepreneurial spirit

  • Setting high standards for self and business and demonstrating a desire to be successful
  • Taking risks in the face of uncer tainty and overcoming significant obstacles
  • Demonstrating perseverance and learning from the experience
  • Capacity to be an independent thinker

Financial performance

  • Strength of financial performance and track record in raising equity and debt finance
  • Quality of past investments
  • Strategies for managing cash flow and ensuring long term sustainability
  • Growth in financial results and reinvestment of profit

Strategic direction

  • Creates and turns visions into business realities
  • Developing a vision and setting goals for future growth and expansion
  • Building an effective team (e.g. staff, directors, advisors) committed to common goals and builds strategic alliances
  • Measuring and benchmarking progress against goals

National/Global Impact

  • Achieving substantial market share
  • Extent of expansion into national and international markets
  • Extent of impact in terms of job creation and improved living economics
  • Alternatively, plans enable growth and increased impact


  • Pioneering new approaches or technologies
  • Ability to adapt and develop products/services ahead of the market
  • Building a culture of innovation and investing in research and development

Personal Integrity/Influence

  • Personal values and approach to relationships with staff, clients, suppliers, and colleagues, earning great respect
  • Experience as a role model, mentor and/or advisor to others
  • Personal involvement in the wider community

Entrant eligibility
  • A company founder or owner/manager of a private or public company or organisation who is primarily responsible for the recent performance of the company or organisation and an active member of senior management
  • An applicant's company must have been in existence for at least two years at close of applications, 17 June 2016
  • A New Zealand citizen or permanent resident
  • A current equity stake in the business
  • Young Entrepreneur applicant must be 35 years or under at 17 June 2016

Benefits of entering

Receiving an EY Entrepreneur Of The Year award is more than a night of acclaim at an awards ceremony, or a trophy to display in a cabinet. The programme is about delivering value to all entrants and celebrating their achievements. Throughout the duration of the programme – from initial entry to final announcement – EY Entrepreneur Of The Year provides unrivalled opportunities for participants. These include local, national and international networking opportunities; media exposure; public relations; a boost to employee morale; and enhanced standing with customers and the business community.

The winner of the Entrepreneur Of The Year will receive a business class trip for two to represent New Zealand at the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year award to be held in Monte Carlo in 2016. At this event all of the country winners are honoured with the independent judging panel selecting one as the 2016 EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year.

 Who will be New Zealand's 2016 Entrepreneur Of The Year?

Hear what Bill Buckey of BSL Systems has to say about his experience.