THE finalists of the UK Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of The Year are announced today. The leading professional services and accountancy firm has sought out “top UK business leaders who have shown drive and innovation in starting and growing companies in challenging economic conditions.”
Following a record number of applications, 150 of the UK’s most entrepreneurial businessmen and women are competing to win the title. And the capital city is well represented.
For example, James Miles and Justin Gibbs of Battersea-based Liv-ex – an online stock exchange for wine – have made the cut. They have introduced price transparency and electronic trading to a traditionally opaque and inefficient market. Liv-ex has generated growth exceeding 50 per cent per year and revenues approaching £54m in 2011.
All finalists have big ambitions. Lance Uggla, founder of Markit, the global financial information services company headquartered in London, wants “to achieve a $10bn valuation and a $500 share price in the next 5 to 7 years.”
Nick Wheeler of Charles Tyrwhitt Shirts, which has been nominated this year thinks “people are quick to criticise and talk this country down. There are very few global menswear brands and we are keen to join their rank.”
Ernst & Young is one of a number of large companies actively supporting entrepreneurship. Many people think of big business as the antithesis of innovation – and certainly startups creatively destroy their more established competitors. But each needs the support of the other, with large companies buying the best of the new, or increasingly outsourcing their innovation to smaller companies.
Visit www.eoy.co.uk to find out more about the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of The Year.