EY Entrepreneur Of The Year - Programme details

Entrepreneurs shape our lives. They stimulate innovation, create jobs, without limitations. They build nations by fueling economic growth and prosperity.


  • The business must be based, or have its chief operations, in the UK, and have been incorporated for two years as of 1 January 2020.
  • The business leader is responsible for the company's success and has been in post a minimum of two years as of 1 January 2020.
  • The business leader has a significant personal financial stake in the business, either directly or via share options.
  • Nominees who are selected must be able to attend their regional judging day:
    • Scotland: 12 May 2020
    • North: 14 May 2020
    • Midlands & South west: 20 May 2020
    • London & South East: 21 May 2020
  • December 2019 – February 2020

    Entrepreneur Of The Year UK open for nominations - Nominations close: 28 February, 2020

  • April 2020, Regional finalists announcements

    Regional finalists will be announced at a networking events. It is an opportunity to connect with other entrepreneurs, be introduced to the regional judging panel and seek advice and guidance from our regional alumni community.

    Scotland: 21 April

    North: 23 April

    London & South East: 28 April

    Midlands & South West: 30 April

    These events are strictly by invitation only

  • May 2020, Regional Judging Days

    Regional finalists will be interviewed by a panel of judges who will select the regional winners. All winners will progress to the national competition.

    Scotland: 12 May

    North: 14 May

    Midlands & South West: 20 May

    London & South East: 21 May

    These events are strictly by invitation only

  • June 2020, Regional Winners Announcements

    Find out who will progress to the national final whilst networking with peers, Entrepreneur Of The Year alumni, sponsors and business leaders. The winner announcements provide a great opportunity for entrepreneurs and their teams to celebrate their achievements and hard work.

    Midlands & South West: 16 June

    North: 18 June

    London & South East: 23 June

    Scotland: 25 June

    These events are strictly by invitation only

  • 9 and 10 September 2020, UK Judging and Alumni Retreat

    UK finalists will have the opportunity to participate in face-to-face interviews with the national judging panel. They will tell their story to the judges, focusing on what is special about them and their business. The retreat has a strong focus on networking, but also gives entrepreneurs an opportunity to reflect on their business journey so far.

    This event is strictly by invitation only

  • 4 November 2020, UK Awards Ceremony

    The programme's pinnacle event and a spectacular celebration of entrepreneurship, when we announce our Entrepreneur Of The Year 2020 UK overall winner. This evening is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs from across the UK to network with each other and to celebrate with fellow finalists, Entrepreneur Of The Year alumni and key business influencers.

    This event is strictly by invitation only

  • June 2021

    EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year™

    The UK Entrepreneur Of The Year winner will join the other country winners to be inducted in to the World Entrepreneur Of The Year Hall of Fame and vie for the World Entrepreneur Of The Year title.

Judging criteria

Entrepreneurial spirit

  • Strong leadership skills and an unflinching desire and determination to be successful.
  • Perseverance in the face of adversity and the ability to overcome obstacles.
  • Has learned from difficult experiences and disappointments.
  • Understands the value of teamwork, but also has the capacity to be an independent thinker.


  • Pioneers a new approach or business model in product, culture or processes.
  • Uses continuous improvement to anticipate and embrace change in a competitive environment.
  • Creates a culture of innovation within their organisation.

National and global impact

  • Can measure national and global impact with either revenue, operational, or influential presence in international markets.
  • Creates jobs and improves living economics in these markets.
  • If doing business overseas, has a strategy and the potential to expand abroad.

Personal integrity and purpose-driven leadership

  • Has earned great respect and a highly-regarded reputation from their key stakeholders (staff, competitors, customers, advisers, family, and the wider community) for living their values.
  • Is committed to the organisation's purpose and the highest ethical and quality standards.
  • Cultivates an inclusive, flexible workplace.
  • Maintains a strong sense of personal purpose, inspires positive social and environmental change, and has made a strong philanthropic contribution to their community.

Strategic direction

  • Creates and turns business visions into business realities.
  • Builds and rebuilds their team's commitment to common goals.
  • Demonstrates the ability to produce new and innovative products that differentiate themselves from their competitors.
  • Demonstrates operational excellence to optimise their organisation’s structures and processes.
  • Demonstrates entrepreneurial maturity by building strategic alliances and surrounding themselves with talented people in order to share knowledge and empower others.

Value creation

  • Creates value for stakeholders through the effective development and deployment of the organisation's strategic capabilities in-line with its stated purpose.
  • Their value is reflected in the strength of the organisation's financial performance, development of human capital and sustainability.