James Lambert of R&R Ice Cream named EY UK Entrepreneur Of The Year

8 October 2013

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  • Judges praise international success of entrepreneur who “sells ice cream to Italy”

London Tuesday 8 October 2013: James Lambert, Chairman of R&R Ice Cream has been named EY UK Entrepreneur Of The Year.

The entrepreneur scooped the top prize at the awards held at the Park Lane Hilton last night after independent judges recognised his achievement in transforming the Yorkshire-based company into Europe’s largest own label ice cream manufacturer.

The company, whose brands include Fab, Skinny Cow and Kelly’s of Cornwall, has grown from a £250,000 turnover business employing five people to one with a pan-European workforce of nearly 3000 and a turnover approaching £750million.

The judging panel, chaired by Sir Nigel Rudd, commented that “James has extraordinary vision and ambition. He has built a regional family business into a true global contender, through acquisition at home and abroad – he is even selling ice cream to Italy.”

Stuart Watson, UK Entrepreneur Of the Year Leader at EY, said: “James is a true British success story. With fantastic tenacity James has steered the company through some very challenging economic times, beating multinationals at their own game and transforming the industry.”

“These awards celebrate the achievements of the UK’s finest entrepreneurs. All of our finalists demonstrate attributes that are much needed in business today – helping to drive employment, job growth and economic recovery.”

The gala awards, hosted by Jeremy Vine, saw 11 other winners named on the night; with Travelex founder Lloyd Dorfman picking up the Master entrepreneur of the year award. 

There was also a  special Global achievement award made to Warren East and Mike Muller of ARM, the world’s largest semiconductor IP Company, and their story was hailed as an “inspiration” to all UK entrepreneurs.

Lambert will now go on to compete globally with more than 60 other country winners at the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year awards in Monte Carlo next year. 

The full list of winners (with judges’ comments)

Business and consumer services:  Alan McLeish, Managing Director, QTS. QTS provides specialist civil engineering, arboriculture, geotechnical, drainage, plant hire and building services within the rail and utilities sectors. From borrowing £300 from his mother to set up in business, Alan has seen turnover growth from £5.3 million to £29 million in the past four years. The judges agreed Alan has an amazing personal story and “pulled himself up by the boot straps.”

Retail and marketplace: Alex Chesterman, Founder and Chief Executive, Zoopla Property Group. The group has become one of the leading digital businesses in the UK, attracting 30 million visits a month and revenues of over £65 million per year. “He has built one of the country’s most recognisable brands and most visited websites in less than five years.”
Manufacturing and services: Simon Howie, Chief Executive Officer, Simon Howie Group. “Simon has built a group of multi-faceted manufacturing and service based companies across a wide range of industries and geographies.”

Private Equity backed business: David Lamont, Chief Executive Officer, Proserv. Proserv is a leading drilling and production technology services company to the global energy industry. “David took over Proserv two years ago completely turning around the company which now shows organic growth of 28% per year.”

Turnaround entrepreneur: Steve Bennett, Founder and Chief Executive, The Genuine Gemstone Company. The Genuine Gemstone Company is a family-owned and run jeweller that sources gemstones from around the world. The judges were impressed by the fact he sources his gemstones and has personal commitment to their quality and traceability, and charitable work in countries where he sources gems. “When Steve bought back his business it was losing £0.5million per month – he stabilised it and re-established faith in its brand.”

International entrepreneur and Master entrepreneur: Lloyd Dorfman, Founder and Chairman, Travelex. Travelex is the world’s largest provider of retail foreign exchange services. “Over and above the success of Travelex and the story behind Lloyd building a number one worldwide brand, the judges wanted to acknowledge Lloyd’s relentless involvement in the business; his personal commitment to visiting every country into which the business expands and the changes and challenges navigated during his 36 years at the firm.”

Social enterprise: Carl Hodson, Duncan Skinner, (General Manager/ Chairman) Glencraft Glencraft manufacture mattresses divans and furniture. A social enterprise, it employs craftspeople with a variety of abilities and disabilities. “They took a floundering business and turned it around by applying their corporate skills in the social arena.”

Emerging entrepreneur: José Neves, Chief Executive Officer, Farfetch. Farfetch is a revolutionary online platform that unites the best independent boutiques: a curator of fashion curators. Condé Nast led a £20 million investment described by judges as “reinforcing the opinion that José has great vision and huge potential for the future.”

Technology: Bill Collis, Chief Executive Officer, The Foundry. Collis, who has won an Academy Award for Scientific and Technical achievement develops computer graphics and visual effects software used globally. “The Foundry’s technology touches most Hollywood blockbusters that reach our screens. A true world leader who started with two programmers from a loft in the heart of Soho."

Global achievement award: Warren East and Mike Muller, ARM Holdings “In the UK, we are rightly proud of ARM, the leadership skills of Warren East and Mike Muller, and its growth from a Cambridge based technology start-up company to the world’s largest semiconductor IP company. ARM now provides the broadest portfolio of technologies in their industry, used by more than 300 semiconductor customers in nearly nine billion chips last year. This award celebrates their story and perhaps other entrepreneurs will be inspired to emulate the ARM growth story.”