EY has announced its EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ UK regional winners, with two North West businesses making the shortlist. They will join 24 other entrepreneurs, representing 19 businesses, from across the country in the UK finals in November.
This year’s finalists highlight two brilliant companies from the North West’s strong entrepreneurial landscape and represent the technology and energy industries. The North West regional winners were selected by a judging panel formed of five Northern business leaders.
Prevailing in the ‘Scale-Up’ category this year was Matthew Scullion, CEO of Matillion. Matthew’s entrepreneurial spirit initially came to light when he founded his first company at 17, and he says his desire to create, fix and design has never left him. As a cloud technology business, Matillion’s solutions aim to increase performance and value to its clients by extracting and loading data in one move. Matthew says he believes that no product, process or person is ever finished, which drives him to continuously challenge, innovate and grow both Matillion and himself.
EY’s Entrepreneur Of The Year™ judges were impressed by Matthew’s ambitions of scale and international reach, and his strong commitment to his workforce and remaining a purposeful leader who interacts with each one of his employees. They said his personable approach and investment in people was key to his continued success.
This year’s ‘Transformational Leader’ category prize was awarded to Michael Patel, Managing Director of Sapphire Utility Solutions. Founded by Michael, Sapphire Utility offers tailor-made innovative, affordable, and sustainable solutions to the clean water, wastewater and gas infrastructure industries. Michael attributes the business’s success to his time as a sub-contractor in the industry, where he gained valuable experience developing systems, processes and capabilities.
Michael was recognised by the judges as a strategic leader, with a clear vision and a passion for developing his team. This aligns with the societal values that are at the heart of his business, which see him focus on creating a diverse and inclusive workforce, with apprenticeship and graduate opportunities and a commitment to achieving carbon neutrality by 2035. They also commented on his positive combination of investing in technology to increase efficiency, reduce costs and improve quality.
Michael and Matthew will also be joined at the UK finals by six entrepreneurs from four other Yorkshire businesses. They are Luke Smith and James Smith, Managing Directors of A-Safe HQ; Jordan Brompton (Co-Founder and CMO) and Lee Sutton (CEO) of myenergi; Karen Betts, CEO of Nouveau HD Beauty Group; and Gary Gallen, CEO of rradar.
Ben Wildsmith, EY Strategy and Transactions Partner and EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ partner sponsor in the North said: “This year’s North West regional winners of EY’s Entrepreneur Of The Year programme showcase two of the most ambitious, innovative and tenacious entrepreneurs across the region. Representing two rapidly growing sectors – technology and energy – these businesses highlight the North’s strong entrepreneurial environment and spirit.
“Against the backdrop of a tough year, I am so proud that this programme recognises the achievements and encourages the vision and role in our community of such inspiring businesses and their leaders, whilst celebrating their plans to continually grow and seize new opportunities. Having navigated their businesses through the last eighteen months, both of our regional winners have shown sheer determination and resilience. I wish them the best of luck in the UK finals.”
Victoria Price UK EY Private Tax Leader and EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ UK Partner Lead said: “EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ tells the story of our inspiring business leaders the length and breadth of the country. We love working with entrepreneurs as they innovate, inspire and grow businesses to scale – and beyond – and we are proud to have many iconic entrepreneurial businesses come through the programme as our clients.
“Considering the challenges of the last 18 months, they have all proven themselves to be fearless in building their businesses and pushing boundaries. Through pandemic-related economic uncertainty, periods of cautious consumer spending and Brexit adjustment, when others may have said ‘no’, they have said ‘yes’ and that is what we celebrate with the programme.
“The 102 regional finalists all exhibited inspiring pioneering spirit and it will be exciting to see where each business goes next in their entrepreneurial journey – they have already proven themselves to be trailblazers and I’m pleased to welcome them into our EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ UK community.”
EY Entrepreneur Of The Year’s headline sponsor is leading Swiss wealth management group Julius Baer.
David Durlacher, CEO, Julius Baer International Limited, the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ UK Headline Sponsor said: “On behalf of everyone at Julius Baer I would like to congratulate all those who have made it through as a finalist in the EY Entrepreneur of the Year programme. It has been a pleasure to meet many of the award entrants during the course of the programme, and the quality of individuals and their businesses has been outstanding. It is inspiring to see how these entrepreneurs and their businesses are opening up new markets, driving change and becoming recognised for their achievements. Congratulations to the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ UK Finalists for 2021!”
The overall UK Entrepreneur Of The Year™ winner will be announced at an event in November. They will represent the UK at the ‘EY World Entrepreneur of the Year’ ceremony in summer 2022, a forum which attracts the world’s most inspiring entrepreneurs from more than 60 countries.