Press release

7 Apr. 2022

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2021 Winner Revealed

Linda Brown, President & CEO at Torrens University Australia, has been named the winner of EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2021

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Linda Brown, President & CEO at Torrens University Australia, has been named the winner of EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2021.

Selected from a group of six finalists, Ms Brown was named the winner at a virtual awards ceremony on 7 April for her innovative work in Australia’s tertiary education sector.

Chair of judges, Lucy Turnbull AO, said, “The judges were impressed with Linda’s mission to drive employability outcomes for Torrens University graduates and her entrepreneurial spirit which has taken the business into 118 countries, becoming one of Australia’s biggest service exports. Under her leadership, Torrens University is changing the way education is delivered – focusing on employability and a global movement of industry, learners and changemakers connecting the world “for good”. The judges were also impressed by Linda’s commitment to “people, teaming and creating a culture” through purposeful leadership and a vision that is going to make an impact on a global scale.

The leader of Australia’s only private for-profit and B Corp-certified university, Linda Brown hails from a tiny Scottish town and was the first in her family to go to university. Today Torrens is Australia’s fastest-growing university, with campuses in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, the Blue Mountains, Auckland, and Suzhou, China.

Under Ms Brown’s guidance, Torrens University has grown from 146 graduates in 2013 to 20,000 employable graduates annually today. In November 2020, Strategic Education Inc (SEI) bought the university and its satellite companies for A$900 million, making Linda CEO of SEI ANZ.

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Leader, Ernst & Young, Australia, Justin Howse, said, “Linda ranked highly in every judging category - entrepreneurial spirit, value creation, strategic direction, innovation, personal integrity, and national and global impact. She has been internationally recognised as a pioneering and forward-thinking leader who drives exceptional outcomes as evidenced by the prestigious reputation Torrens University holds worldwide.”

“Linda’s achievements are especially impressive considering the turbulence caused by Covid-19 and other worldwide events in the past few years. Her courage to look beyond the immediate and forge a business with lasting impact will help push the industry forward,” concluded Mr Howse.

Ms Brown was selected from a group of six finalists which included Izhar Basha, Founder and CEO, EHPlabs, Doug Fitch, Global CEO, Agworld, David Fogarty, CEO & Director, The Davie Group, Anson Zhang and Jeff Yu, Co-founders & CEOs, One Stop Warehouse / Discover Energy Pty Ltd and Dr Sean Parsons, CEO & Managing Director, Ellume.

Group Executive of Business Banking at Commonwealth Bank, Mike Vacy-Lyle said: “Congratulations to Ms Brown for her inspiring efforts advancing the education sector in a positive way, and to the finalists who are also contributing significantly to the business community.

“We are so pleased to be able to support entrepreneurs at the top of their game and highlight the importance of innovation at a time when we are in the midst of change. CBA is always ready to help businesses reach their dreams and help create a brighter future.”

For 21 years, the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year program has recognised ambitious leaders who build and sustain successful, dynamic businesses and reframe the future.

Ms Brown will continue forward to represent Australia at World EY Entrepreneur Of The Year in June 2022.

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About EY Entrepreneur Of The YearTM

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year is the world’s most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The unique award makes a difference through the way it encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential, and recognises the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. As the first and only truly global award of its kind, EY Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognising them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 145 cities in more than 60 countries.

The Australian Entrepreneur Of The Year awards program, launched in 2001, is conducted in five regions culminating in the national awards. The program honours entrepreneurs whose ingenuity and perseverance have created and sustained successful, growing business ventures. Entrepreneur Of The Year’s primary objective is to identify, acknowledge and celebrate the outstanding contribution entrepreneurs make to the Australian business community and economy.

EY encourages women to apply to enter the Entrepreneur Of The Year awards. The program empowers women entrepreneurs to think bigger, gain access to capital, enhance their business profile, network, learn from their peers and find seasoned advisors.

The Australian Entrepreneur Of The Year program now has alumni of over 1,400 entrepreneurs who have participated in the program. Since the program’s inception more than 15,000 people have attended Entrepreneur Of The Year events and award ceremonies in Australia.

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