Is success determined by a great idea or how it’s brought to life?   @EOY_UK   #EOY20years

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Recognising entrepreneurs with the vision and courage to challenge the status quo.

The Disruptor award focuses on entrepreneurs who are more than just innovators – they push boundaries and take steps to revolutionise an existing industry or enter into or create a completely new one. The award will be presented to an individual who is shaping and improving our working world and constantly striving for excellence.

Rising Star*

Focusing on entrepreneurs who have not only identified an opportunity, but have also capitalised on it in a forward-thinking, creative way.

The award celebrates ambitious entrepreneurs who have started a business which is growing quickly and has generated excitement in the marketplace. The business’ revenue and profits will reflect its fast growth nature.

*Business must be incorporated for 2–7 years only.

Scale Up

Recognising today's most exciting established entrepreneurs who have experienced a significant step change in growth or seen their business take off in recent years.

The Scale Up category celebrates entrepreneurs who are positively impacting their industry and economy. The award will be presented to a purpose-driven entrepreneur who can demonstrate strong growth in revenue, sales, market share, headcount or expansion in recent times.

Sustained Excellence

Celebrating entrepreneurs’ contribution to the UK economy over a considerable period of time.

The Sustained Excellence award recognises entrepreneurs able to demonstrate a clear track record of success over many years, while continuing to build on their accomplishments with a forward-thinking attitude through innovation and new market entry. Open not only to those who have led their business to great heights, but also to serial entrepreneurs who have started and led one business after another, or many businesses concurrently.

Transformational Leader

Recognising individuals with the vision to lead an organisation to bigger and better things.

The Transformational Leader award celebrates entrepreneurs who have identified challenges for their business and been instrumental in overcoming them. The individual, who may or may not be the business’ founder, will have a proven track record managing a positive reversal of financial or market fortune.

Building a Better Working World*

Recognising and celebrating an entrepreneur inspired to make the world work better.

The Building a Better Working World is a special award acknowledging an entrepreneur who is delivering positive social impact. A nod to EY's organisational purpose, this special award highlights the role business plays in driving change and making the world work better.

*This category is not open to nominations. Finalists are selected by the independent judging panel.


  • The business must be based, or have its chief operations, in the UK, and have been incorporated for two years as of 1 January 2018.
  • The business leader is responsible for the company's success and has been in post a minimum of two years as of 1 January 2018.
  • The business leader has a significant personal financial stake in the business, either directly or via share options.

Judging criteria

Entrepreneur Of The Year is judged by an independent judging panel made up of Entrepreneur Of The Year alumni, entrepreneurs, and key influences from the business community.

The judges look for:

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.

Key dates

  • November 2017 – February 2018

    Programme is open for entries

    Nominee interviews

    Entrepreneurs are selected for interviews that offer them the chance to tell their compelling story. Notes from these interviews are added to their entry forms and the financial documents that make up the judges' pack, which the judges review before face-to-face interviews at the Judges' Reception in May.

  • April 2018

    Regional finalists announcements

    Regional finalists will be announced at a networking reception. 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.

    • Tuesday, 17 April: Midlands
    • Wednesday, 18 April: London & South
    • Thursday, 19 April: North
    • Wednesday, 25 April: Scotland Masterclass*
  • May 2018

    Regional Judges' Days

    Regional finalists will be interviewed by a panel of judges who will select a regional winner from each category and one overall for the region. All winners will progress to the national competition.

    These events are strictly by invitation only

    • Tuesday, 8 May: Scotland Judges' Day
    • Thursday, 10 May: North Judges' Day
    • Thursday, 17 May: Midlands Judges' Day
    • Tuesday, 22 May: London & South Judges' Day
  • June and July 2018

    Regional Awards Ceremonies

    Black tie ceremonies at which regional winners are announced, and a great opportunity for further networking with peers, Entrepreneur Of The Year alumni, sponsors and business leaders. The ceremonies provide a great opportunity for entrepreneurs and their teams to celebrate their achievements and hard work.

    These events are strictly by invitation only

    • Thursday 21 June: Scotland Awards Ceremony
    • Tuesday 26 June: Midlands Awards Ceremony
    • Thursday 28 June: North Awards Ceremony
    • Wednesday 4 July : London & South Awards Ceremony
  • 5 & 6 September 2018

    UK Judging Retreat

    UK finalists will have the opportunity to participate in face-to-face interviews with the national judging panel over two days. 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

  • 1 November 2018

    UK Awards Ceremony

    The programme's pinnacle event; a spectacular celebration of entrepreneurship across the UK. The UK category winners and the overall Entrepreneur Of The Year 2018 UK will be announced. 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 2019

    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.



Meet the judges


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World Entrepreneur Of The Year