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World Entrepreneur of the Year: the judging process

EY Entrepreneur of the Year (EOY) was founded in 1986. Since then it has expanded to 150 cities in 60 countries with awards presented each year to a thousand of the world’s leading entrepreneurs.

The awards are judged by entrepreneurs, including many former EOY winners. It is a celebration of entrepreneurial spirit and recognition for some of the world’s most inspiring entrepreneurs – whose innovation, new products, services and job creation are so critical to the health of the global economy.

Winners from 60 countries attended the 14th World Entrepreneur of the Year (WEOY) award in Monaco in June this year. Past winners of WEOY include: Hamdi Ulukaya of Chobani, Equity Bank’s James Mwangi, Olivia Lum of Hyflux, Narayana Murthy, co-founder of Infosys, and Guy Laliberté of Cirque du Soleil.

So how do the judges award the WEOY?

Each country winner of the award goes through to the global contest and is then re-evaluated by a separate independent judging panel, which is rotated annually.

Each judge receives a detailed history of the country winners and meets the finalists in formal interviews and at informal events to hear their stories. The panel then convenes to rate candidates for six traits:

● Entrepreneurial spirit: perseverance and fresh thinking; how finalists have overcome obstacles;

● Financial performance: today and their past record; their strategies for long-term growth sustainability;

● Strategic direction: how finalists turn their visions into reality; growth goals; how they differentiate themselves;

● Global impact: in terms of revenue, operations and influence;

● Innovation: whether entrepreneurs anticipate and embrace change; whether there is continuous improvement and innovation throughout the business;

● Personal integrity and influence: corporate social responsibility; impact on the environment; improving life in the wider community.

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

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.

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