Founder and CEO, Cirque du Soleil, Canada
2007 award winner
EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year 2007
EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2006 Canada
In 1984, during the 450th anniversary of the discovery of Canada, the Quebec government was celebrating by looking for a show that would tour across the province. Guy Laliberté, an itinerant and highly entrepreneurial fire-eater, accordionist and stilt-walker, presented the civil servants with a proposal for a show called Cirque du Soleil (Cirque) — and to their credit, they recognized its potential for short-term success and long-term growth. Cirque du Soleil’s touring shows have made more than 250 stops in more than 100 cities around the world.
Cirque also has permanent shows in purpose-built theatres in Florida and Las Vegas. Production is well under way for permanent shows at Disney Tokyo and in Macau. The company has revenues of more than US$600 million and has enjoyed double-digit growth for more than five years. Every facet of Cirque is overseen and guided by Guy, and his vision goes far beyond creating entertainment. The company’s social action programs have given more than US$47 million to benefit youth at risk in more than 56 countries, and the organization is actively committed to the One Drop movement, which is dedicated to providing clean water to the world.