Blippar CEO named UK Entrepreneur Of The Year

04 October 2016

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Ambarish Mitra will represent the UK at EY’s World Entrepreneur Of the Year Awards in Monaco

Ambarish Mitra, Founder & CEO of Blippar, was named ‘EY Entrepreneur Of The Year UK 2016 overall winner’ at a ceremony in London last night.

Mitra was born in India and ran away from home as a teenager, living in a slum in New Delhi. While working two jobs, as a door-to-door salesman by day and at a tea stall by night, he won a nationwide business plan competition. The prize money funded the launch of his first business, Women Infoline, which gave free internet access to women earning below a certain wage.

At 21 Mitra sold the business and moved to the UK, where he started three business ventures over the next ten years. His ‘lightbulb moment’ happened in a pub, after sharing a joke with Blippar’s co-founder, Omar Tayeb, about the Queen coming to life out of a £20 note. A few days later a prototype was created and Blippar was born. The company now has twelve offices across the globe, including London, New York, San Francisco, Delhi and Singapore, with plans to expand.

Blippar harnesses image recognition, augmented reality and computer vision technology to bring the physical world to life through smart and wearable devices. Once they have downloaded the app, consumers can blipp (‘scan’) objects they are curious about and unlock content. The app has over 65 million users in 175 countries.

The judges described Mitra as “a man with big vision and a driving ambition, but also one that is matched by his social conscience, driven at least in part by his own early life experiences”.

Stuart Watson, UK Entrepreneur Of The Year Programme Leader said: “Ambarish wowed the judges with his technology and his entrepreneurial spirit. This is an entrepreneur with an unwavering determination to succeed, who sees each triumph and failure as feedback to help drive the business forward. They were also impressed by his personal journey from teenage runaway in New Delhi, to a CEO of a fast growth, high-tech multi-national, transforming interactions with consumers.”

Mitra has entered the awards programme three times in the last three years and will now go on to represent the UK at EY’s World Entrepreneur Of The Year in Monaco next June, competing with more than 50 other country winners for the global title.

An independent judging panel chaired by Rosemary Squire OBE, Founder Director and Deputy Chairman, Ambassador Theatre Group and EY Entrepreneur Of The Year UK 2014 overall winner, selected the winners from 40 UK finalists, who have combined revenue of £2.4bn and employ a workforce of over 16,000.

Watson added: “Entrepreneurs see the world differently. They see opportunity where others see obstacles and in a world that is constantly throwing up new challenges and disruptions, their entrepreneurial spirit is vital to driving economic growth. Operating in 60 countries around the world, Entrepreneur Of The Year is a real celebration of their achievements and public recognition of their contribution.”

Special Award – Family Business

Hosts EY also presented a special award - Family Business Award of Excellence – to Nicholas Oughtred of William Jackson Food Group. The business was founded in Hull in 1851 and comprises of a portfolio of food businesses, including Aunt Bessie’s, famous for its Yorkshire Puddings.

To qualify for the Family Business Award of Excellence, the company must be in at least its third generation of family ownership, and it must be the family that sets the strategic direction. 

Stuart Watson commented: “The history of the business is one of continuous change. A key feature of its journey has been its ability to adapt to new circumstances and forge a new path while retaining the core principles and behaviours that sit at the heart of the organisation.”

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year UK 2016 is supported by LGT Vestra, Rackspace and Merrill Corporation, with the Financial Times as media partner.