The 16 finalists competing for the Entrepreneur of the Year title were announced at the Auckland Art Gallery last night by accounting firm EY (formerly Ernst & Young).
The selected finalists included men and women from around the country and from a wide array of business backgrounds, including financial services and cloud companies through to peanut butter-makers and bakers of healthy goods.
Awards director Jon Hooper said the calibre of contestants continued to be strong.
"Successful entrepreneurs have an extraordinary passion, self-belief and drive that keeps them going when others might give up," Hooper said. "Each of our 2014 finalists has demonstrated outstanding innovation, determination and entrepreneurial spirit."
The title will be awarded on October 16, after finalists are chosen next month in five categories - products, services, technology and emerging industries, young and master.
Naomi Ballantyne (Partners Life)
Ian Clarke (Fronde Systems Group)
Caroline Dewe (Alphero)
Michael Marr (TPT Group of Companies)
Justine Muollo (Justine's - formerly The Protein Bakery)
Pic Picot (Pic's Really Good Peanut Butter)
Luke Pierson (Heydey)
Michelle Pratt (New Shoots Children's Centre)
Daniel Radcliffe (International Volunteer HQ)
Mark Rice (CDB Goldair)
Vaughan Rowsell (Vend)
Warren Stephens (Lifetime Group)
Grant Straker (Straker Translations)
Mike Taylor (Pie Funds)
Patrick Teo (BCS Group)
Michael Whitehead (WhereScape Software).