After skipping the EY Entrepreneur of the Year awards last year due to Covid-19, 27 finalists across 18 Kiwi businesses ranging from fighting crime to digital classrooms have been announced for the 2021 awards.
The finalists, who collectively generate more than $175m in revenue, are involved in a diverse range of industries including space transportation, construction, food, natural paint coatings, cancer diagnostics, crime intelligence software, pet food and helping senior citizens to move home. Fifteen of the 18 companies operate globally.
This year's finalists are: Phil Thomson, James Corbett and Tom Batterbury (Auror Ltd); Grace Glass (The Natural Paint Company); Dr Max Ferguson (Nitrolabs Ltd); Bradley Fraser (Senior Move Managers); Ajay Agarwal (Global Financial Services Ltd); Stuart Wilson (Modica Group); Dave Darling (Pacific Edge Ltd); Bob Drummond, Jordan Thoms, Alliv Samson and Hengjie Wang (Kami); Asantha Wijeyeratne (PaySauce); Brooke Roberts, Sonya Williams and Leighton Roberts (Sharesies Group Ltd); James Fuller (Hnry Ltd); Gary Rohloff (Laybuy Group Holdings Ltd); Wayne Zeng (Chancellor Construction Ltd); Wendy Thompson (Socialites Group); James Parfitt (New Zealand Wild Catch Ltd); Matthew Bennett (Nibblish); Amber Cordero and Jacqueline Taylor (NZ Natural Pet Food Company); and James Powell and Stefan Powell (Dawn Aerospace).
Director of EY Entrepreneur of the Year, New Zealand, Darren White said:" After a turbulent year filled with global uncertainty and challenges around every corner, it is a privilege to recognise the ambition, tenacity and sheer grit of these outstanding leaders, a true testament to home-grown talent taking on the world stage and bolstering the New Zealand economy.
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"Their incredible stories reflect the changing landscape of entrepreneurism in New Zealand, one that features a greater emphasis on purpose, empowerment, sustainability, community and breaking down barriers. Their fearless attitude will pave the wave for more Kiwi entrepreneurs to think big and lead with purpose."
The finalists will go on to compete to be category winners and for the ultimate title of EY Entrepreneur of the Year for 2021, announced on November 11 in Auckland. The winner will then compete for the title of World Entrepreneur of the Year 2021. The global winner will be announced in 2022 at a glamorous event, traditionally staged in Monaco. Due to the pandemic, plans are still to be confirmed.
The New Zealand finalists will be assessed by a panel of independent judges, including previous EY Entrepreneur of the Year winners, across six core criteria: entrepreneurial
spirit; innovation, personal integrity and influence, financial performance, strategic direction, and national and global impact.
• Mohammed Hikmet, founder of intelligent transport systems developer and manufacturer, HMI Technologies, won EY Entrepreneur of the Year in 2019, and Zuru Toys co-founder Nick Mowbray won in 2018.