Maria Pinelli
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Entrepreneurs drive innovation and bring new solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems, but they also create jobs, generate economic growth and encourage creativity.

In short, they leave the world a legacy to help it work better.

It is this that will be celebrated this June in Monaco where entrepreneurs from more than 50 countries will convene for the 15th World Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards. The winner will be announced at 23:00 in Monaco (22:00 BST).

The awards are the annual culmination of EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year (EOY) programme that distinguishes and honours the leading innovators behind new products, services and job creation across more than 145 cities in more than 60 countries. The week-long gathering brings together this year’s individual country winners.

They are judged by fellow entrepreneurs who will evaluate their individual strengths according to six criteria and eventually choose one, exceptional, 2015 world winner. The virtues of entrepreneurship are widely extolled, but nowhere else will you see such a rigorous process that starts with 10,000 nominations in countries representing 90 per cent of global GDP and ends with a single winner.

Past winners of WEOY include: Uday Kotak, founder, executive vice-chairman and managing director of Kotak Mahindra Bank, Hamdi Ulukaya of Chobani, the yoghurt producer, Equity Bank’s James Mwangi, Olivia Lum of Hyflux, the Singapore water management and environmental solutions company, Narayana Murthy, co-founder of Infosys, and Guy Laliberté of Cirque du Soleil.

World Entrepreneur of the Year: judging criteria

In Monaco, each WEOY country winner has been evaluated by an independent judging panel.

Each judge receives a detailed history including confidential financial data about each country winner and also meets the finalists in a formal interview. The panel then convenes to rate candidates in six areas.

Entrepreneurial spirit: Judges are looking for perseverance and fresh thinking and how finalists have overcome obstacles

Financial performance: Judges will consider participants’ current financial position and their past record. They will also consider their strategies for long-term growth and sustainability

Strategic direction: Here, judges will be evaluating how finalists turn their visions into reality, what their growth goals are and how they differentiate themselves

Global impact: The judges try to measure this in terms of revenue, operations and influence

Innovation: The finalists will be assessed on how they anticipate and embrace change and whether there is continuous improvement and innovation throughout the business

Personal integrity and influence: Judges will also consider the finalists’ record on corporate social responsibility, the impact their businesses have had on the environment and to what extent they have improved life in the wider community.

EY has developed these six criteria over its three decades of working with and recognising entrepreneurs.

Maria Pinelli is global vice-chair for strategic growth markets at EY

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