Resilience and teamwork standout amongst EY Entrepreneur of the Year category winners

This year’s New Zealand category winners the EY Entrepreneur of the Year™ include a crime prevention tech company, a collaboration software provider, a wealth investment platform, a business that has revolutionised space transportation and an enterprise messaging platform that is on a mission to enable secure two-way communication with every person and mobile device on the planet.

 A statement from the organisers says that a special mention was given to Dave Darling, CEO of cancer diagnostics company Pacific Edge Limited, for his long service to entrepreneurial-ism and leadership of an incredible business with such impact.

 Director of EY Entrepreneur of the Year, New Zealand, Darren White, says this year’s winners set the benchmark for achievement in business and that the future for them is looking really bright.

 “What stood out this year was how all of the finalists are gearing up for a busy next 12–18 months, despite the significant economic headwinds. Because our entrepreneurs have been quick to adapt and evolve their businesses through the pandemic, they’re in a really good place,” he says.

Vaughan Fergusson, Entrepreneur of the Year™ 2022 head judge and competition alumni, believes this year’s winners have demonstrated real resilience and determination under testing circumstances.

 “Adversity creates an environment where entrepreneurs need to think about how they can do things differently. This is the space where their resiliency really shines through and they thrive. The challenging business conditions of the last two years are why we’ve seen so many unique and wonderful entries this year.”

 The other standout trend for the judges were that there are more entrepreneurial teams.

 “As the complexities of running a business have increased, and entrepreneurs are too stretched to be experts in every part of the business, we’re seeing a global trend of more entrepreneurs teaming up. While 20 years ago we would see one business leader, entrepreneurs are now more likely to share the load and draw on the diverse strengths and experiences of other leaders, which brings fresh ideas and also means that business leaders don’t feel isolated and like they’re doing it all alone,” says Fergusson.

 White believes this is also one of the youngest cohorts of category winners he has seen.

 “The younger generations of entrepreneurs coming through have got so much confidence to go out and start businesses from a young age. It’s really impressive to see how open they are to risk-taking, as well as their understanding of how digital needs to lead everything we do. Some of the finalists and category winners have been in business for no more than five years yet they’ve managed to create thriving businesses that are achieving amazing results on the global stage,” he adds,


The NZ EY Entrepreneur of the Year category winners are:


Young Entrepreneur:  Max Ferguson, Lumin

Tech and Emerging Industries Entrepreneur:  James Corbett, Tom Batterbury & Phil Thomson, Auror

Product Entrepreneur:  Stefan Powell, Dawn Aerospace

Services Entrepreneur: Brooke Roberts, Leighton Roberts & Sonya Williams, Sharesies

Master Category:  Stuart Wilson, Modica 

The category winners will go on to compete for the title of EY Entrepreneur of the Year for 2022. From there, New Zealand’s EY Entrepreneur of the Year for 2022 will compete for the title of World Entrepreneur of the Year, announced in June 2023.

 The category winners will be assessed by a panel of independent judges, all of which are previous EY Entrepreneur of The Year award winners, across six core criteria: entrepreneurial spirit, innovation, personal integrity and influence, financial performance, strategic direction, and national and global impact.


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