From a pool of 18, six New Zealand entrepreneurs have been named 2016 EY Entrepreneur of the Year winners. As named by NBR they are: Colin and Dale Armer of Armer Farms, Peter Beck of Rocket Lab, Carmel Fisher of Fisher Funds Management, Ranjna Patel of Nirvana Health Group and Jos Ruffell of Garage Projects.
NBR reports the six winners will face another judging panel in October when one will be chosen to represent New Zealand at EY’s World Entrepreneur of the Year to be held in Monaco next June.
Diane Foreman CNZM, chairwoman of the judging panel, says she is thrilled with this year’s quality of finalists. “It’s been a really difficult job – it always is – and most of the people we saw could have become category winners in any other year. There were so many solid and well-funded businesses.
“But we revised the judging criteria and needed to find people who best fit the criteria. For a lot of the businesses and entrepreneurs, it was early in their careers and we’d love to see them back in a couple of years.”
Awards director and EY partner Jon Hooper says an important theme this year was a wide commitment to community service.
“A number of businesses are taking significant actions to change people’s lives, from improving the quality of homes and helping others start their own business, to dealing with community violence,” he says.
Synlait Group chief executive John Penno, another member of the judging panel, says the entrants were so strong many finalists could easily have made it through to the next stage of the competition and he “hopes they become category winners in the future.”
Along with Ms Foreman and Mr Penno, the judging panel comprised Anne Norman of James Pascoe Group, Bridget Coates of White Cloud Dairy Innovation and ArcAngels and Dan Radcliffe from International Volunteer HQ.
Previous winners include Sir Michael Hill of Michael Hill International and Sir Richard Taylor of Weta Workshop.
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