Programme information and key dates

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.


Key Dates 

September 2020 | UK finalists announced
Find out who will progress to the national final representing their region.

October 2020 | UK finalists will have the opportunity to participate in virtual interviews with the UK judging panel.

December 2020 | UK Virtual Awards ceremony

June 2021 |   EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year™

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.