Rocket Lab founder Peter Beck has been crowned EY New Zealand entrepreneur of the year and will head to Monaco to battle for the world title.

Beck founded the Auckland-based company in 2007 and is planning to launch the company's Electron rocket from Mahia Peninsula later this year in what will be the first commercial space launch from New Zealand.

Chair of the EY judging panel Diane Foreman, said in the more than ten years she had been associated with Entrepreneur of the Year, she had never seen a stronger field of category winners and was impressed by the diversity of the category winners.

"You could barely put a piece of paper between them," Foreman said. "But, at the end of the day, we had to make a choice and the judges were star-struck by our winner."


"The category winners include three women who are running huge, ethical companies below the radar and it has been an honour to showcase their businesses," she said. "I am very proud to be part of this process."

Beck was presented the award at a black tie gala dinner at The Langham last night, after beating the other category winners - Colin and Dale Armer from Armer Group, Carmel Fisher from Fisher Funds Management, Jos Ruffell from Garage Project and Ranjna Patel from Nirvana Health Group.

Awards director Jon Hooper said he was impressed by the diversity of industries the category winners represented adding that they were all disrupters.

Two other awards were also presented last night - the inaugural Family Business Award of Excellence which was awarded to Gallagher Group, and the Exceptional Services to Entrepreneurship Award which went to property developer Ted Manson.