Ratheesan Yoganathan of Lebara named EY London & South Entrepreneur Of The Year 2012

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Friday 29 June 2012: The man responsible for transforming the international call market for migrant communities was last night named EY London and South Overall Entrepreneur of The Year 2012.

Ratheesan Yoganathan, of Lebara who co founded the mobile virtual network operator in 2001 was described by judges as an ‘astute business man’ and a hugely ‘impressive entrepreneur’. He used his knowledge of the migrant sector to create the first business focused on providing communities with high quality, low cost international calling services. In the past three years the company’s revenues have grown by 223 million euros.

Dave Hales, London & South leader of EY Entrepreneur Of The Year, said: “Ratheesan has tailored a new breed of mobile products and services that benefit both the caller and the receiver. In doing so he is the leading mobile supplier to ethnic migrant communities by creating a ‘debt free’ company that delivers excellent service, with an excellent team of people.”

Ratheesan now joins 13 other finalists from the evening, who will compete, along with the winners of other regional heats held previously in Scotland and the North and Midlands, to become EY UK Entrepreneur of the Year at awards which will be held in October.

The following London and South winners will compete to become UK entrepreneur of the Year at awards held in October.

London & South Award Recipients 2012

Warren Bennett & David Hathiramani, A Suit That Fits
Starting with a great idea, of how to make tailored suits more affordable, these entrepreneurs demonstrated a clear business strategy and level of boldness. A growing business, they now make and deliver more suits than the whole of Savile Row. Their suits are made in Nepal, providing all year round work to a large number of Nepalese people whilst paying 50% over the local rate.

Mick May, Blue Sky Development and Regeneration
Mick May built a business in an incredibly difficult area by getting ex offenders back into work. In 6 years he has given jobs to 515 ex-offenders, of whom 45% have left to onward employment

Saleem Asaria, Cambian Group
Considered by the judges to be operating far beyond usual health care and hospital models, the judges were hugely impressed by his desire to change and make a positive difference in people’s lives as frequently reflected throughout his company and business model.

Nick Wheeler, Charles Trywhitt Shirts
Driven by his innate self confidence to believe anything is possible this entrepreneur’s hard work and perseverance has seen the business grow to a turnover of £53m employing almost 500 people.

Simon Downing, Civica Group
Providing the technology behind local transactions, Civica, work with 95% of councils in Great Britain and 90% of UK police forces.  Simon was described as innovative and making a large impact as an entrepreneur who has done an incredible job in a difficult market.

Tom Dudderidge, Disruptive
Described as a remarkable individual who believes he can be a global leader in the consumer electronics world, his business has grown, impressively and he has continued to take risks and has reinvested profit.

David Williams, Eco2
Considered a pioneer of renewable energy technology this individual has shown great success by taking significant risk in a highly challenging industry. David received an original equity of £4m in 2005. Since then, Eco2’s funders have received £82m in net gains.

Mark Sesnan, GLL
Mark runs over sixty leisure and fitness centres in eleven boroughs. His commercial approach to the public sector, has helped to take a failing organisation and turn it around to become a profitable business.

Geoffrey Harrison, Harrison Catering Services
Described as strong in every single area, judges said Geoffrey has built his company from nothing to a £52m turnover. He impressed the judges through his displays of corporate social responsibility by aiming to make children eat healthier and also learn social skills in a civilised dining setting.  

Antony Joseph & Richard Joseph, Joseph Joseph
Starting with just £10,000 in capital, the entrepreneurial drive and spirits of these twin brothers has developed a global business with a turnover of £22.4m.  Described by the judges as natural business men, their core business ethos is focused on being design-led with a real passion for quality.

Lance Uggla, Markit
Brilliant, slick, very impressive, and well rounded’ were just a few words used by the judges to illustrate a phenomenal story of extraordinary financial performance. The winner employs 2400 employees in 17 offices with a turnover of nearly half a billion pounds.

Robert Matthams, Shiply.com
Described as having created a revolutionary business model, Shiply.com links people who need a courier with transportation companies that are going there anyway. Judges described Robert as a young entrepreneur with a winning model that is considered the ebay of the transport sector.

Scott Button, Unruly
Described by the judges as having ‘great ambition, utterly clear on where he is going, driven and focussed’ Unruly have worked on some of the biggest social video campaigns in the world.