Yorkshire's leading entrepreneurs unveiled

24 April 2014

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Karen Boswell of East Coast Rail and Stuart Paver of Pavers are amongst leading business figures to join Chair Sir Peter Vardy of Vardy Group on the judging panel for EY’s North of England Entrepreneur of the Year Awards 2014

Entrepreneurs from seven Yorkshire businesses – which in total employ over 1,500 people and have combined sales in excess of £310m – have been shortlisted in EY’s North of England Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards 2014, which is sponsored by Credit Suisse.

These seven business leaders from companies in industries including food and drink, marketing and retail will also compete with entrepreneurs from 21 other firms based in the North West and the North East at the North of England final, which will be held on 24 June 2014 at the Lowry Hotel, Manchester. The North of England winners will go on to vie for the title of EY UK Entrepreneur Of The Year 2014.

The 2014 North of England judging panel is chaired by Sir Peter Vardy of Vardy Group, who built his family’s car dealership company, Reg Vardy plc, into a £2bn national business employing 6,000 people, before selling the company in 2006. He is joined on the panel by eight Northern business leaders including Karen Boswell, CEO of East Coast Rail and 2013 North of England category winner Stuart Paver, Managing Director at York-based Pavers.

Sir Peter Vardy said: “Recognising and celebrating the success of entrepreneurs is so important. It is a privilege to be involved in the judging of EY’s North of England Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards 2014.

“We will be looking for the best examples of business building, scalability, innovation and contribution to the regional and national economy. I am sure we will see some amazing success stories that need to be told so as to encourage the next generation of business builders throughout the UK.”

James Lambert OBE, CEO of Northallerton-based R&R Ice Cream, was named EY’s North of England Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013 and went on to win the UK Entrepreneur Of The Year 2013 title. He will represent the UK at a global Entrepreneur Of The Year awards ceremony in Monte Carlo in June 2014. Paul Stoneham of Leeds-based ghd won the turnaround category at the North of England awards in 2013.

Stuart Watson, Yorkshire and UK Entrepreneur Of The Year Leader at EY, commented: “Our 2014 Yorkshire finalists have delivered significant growth and responded to their customers’ needs by developing strong, differentiated propositions. Their business achievements are all the more impressive having been conceived and largely delivered during some of the most challenging economic conditions UK companies have ever faced.

“Product innovation, exporting, customer engagement and investment in technology are just some of the ways these companies have driven expansion and are positioning themselves for further accelerated growth in the recovery.

“It is crucial that we continue to recognise and support these and other entrepreneurial businesses in the Yorkshire and the wider UK, and the success of James Lambert in last year’s programme will inspire other leaders in the region. High growth businesses lay the foundations for job and wealth creation, and have a critical role to play in regional economic expansion.”

This year’s Yorkshire finalists are:

  • Robert Whiteside, CEO, Adare (Huddersfield)
  • Richard Butterfield, Group Chairman, Principle Holdings ltd (Huddersfield)
  • Sean Ramsden, Chief Executive, Ramsden International (Grimsby)
  • Caroline Wherritt, Chief Executive, Re:Work Office Furniture (Leeds)
  • Hedley Aylott, CEO and Co-Founder, Summit (Willerby, Hull)
  • Gavin Winter, Managing Director, The Test People Ltd (Leeds)
  • Jon Wright, Chief Executive Officer, Xercise4Less (Leeds)

This year’s North of England region judges are:

  • Sir Peter Vardy, Chairman, Vardy Group
  • Grant Berry, Managing Partner, NorthEdge Capital LLP
  • Karen Boswell, CEO, East Coast Rail
  • Paul Gilbert, Chairman of The Gym Group, Better Bathrooms and Clothing Sites
  • Ian Kelly, Founder and CEO, Matrix
  • Graeme Oram, Chief Executive, Five Lamps
  • Stuart Paver, Managing Director, Pavers
  • Angela Spindler, CEO, N Brown Group
  • Neil Stephenson, CEO, Onyx Group