EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ New Zealand 2015 Announced

15 October 2015

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Craig Hickson, the founder and Managing Director of Progressive Meats, has been named EY Entrepreneur Of The Year for 2015.

Hickson will represent New Zealand at EY’s World Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Awards in Monaco next June, competing for the title with winners from more than 60 countries.

He was selected from a field of six New Zealand category winners and received his award at a gala dinner in Auckland tonight.

The New Zealand judging panel was chaired by Greg Cross (founder of Cross Ventures and PowerbyProxi). Other members of the panel were Dr John Penno (Synlait Milk), Sir William Gallagher (Gallagher Group), Dan Radcliffe (founder of International Volunteer HQ and the 2014 Entrepreneur Of The Year winner for NZ) and Bridget Coates (Liddell), founder of White Cloud Dairy Innovation and ArcAngels.

The ASB Social Entrepreneur Of The Year for 2015 is Annah Stretton – a highly successful fashion designer, entrepreneur, writer, women’s advocate and philanthropist, and founder of fashion company Stretton Group in 1992.

Stretton, who was awarded the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2009 for her services to fashion, business and the community, has been recognised tonight for her work with RAW (Reclaim Another Woman) – an initiative which matches mentors with women who have been victims of domestic violence – and for other charitable work through the Stretton Foundation. She was an Entrepreneur Of The Year category winner in 2005.

Greg Cross says this year’s decision was one of the closest the judging panel has ever had to make.

Hickson has demonstrated a level of innovation and entrepreneurship that is unusual and exceptional in a traditional industry, he said. “Overall, the caliber of entrepreneurs in New Zealand just gets better and better across all categories.”

Cross, who retires from the judging panel this year after five years as chairman, says the focus of New Zealand entrepreneurs has changed since he first took on the role. “In the beginning, most of the entrepreneurs we saw as judges were from traditional industries. But the variety of business models we are now seeing in New Zealand entrepreneurs is quite exceptional. And, as this year’s winner demonstrates, the focus is on constant improvement and continuous innovation.”

Awards director Jon Hooper says he is heartened by the fact that New Zealand has some “amazing entrepreneurs” coming through the Entrepreneur Of The Year program who are spotting opportunities and innovating in special ways. “As a country we can take a lot of pride in that.”

The six category winners are:

Craig Hickson (Progressive Meats) Category: Products
John Wikstrom (Magic Memories) Category: Services
Hamish Kennedy (Compac) Category: Technology & emerging industries
Chris Heaslip & Eliot Crowther (Pushpay) Category: Young
Wayne Wright (BestStart) Category: Master

Learn more about our category winners here

For further information please contact:
Jon Hooper +64 9 348 8246
Please also visit www.ey.com/nz/eoy

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This news release has been issued by Ernst & Young New Zealand, a member firm of Ernst & Young Global Limited.