Three leading businessmen from the region have been shortlisted in EY’s North of England Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards 2014.
Paul McEldon, chief executive of the Sunderland-based North East Business and Innovation Centre; Jeff Winn, managing director of Newcastle’s Winn Solicitors and Kevin Brennan, chief executive of Quorn Foods in Stokesley will be competing against 27 other entrepreneurs from 25 businesses.
The North of England final will be held on June 24 at the Lowry Hotel, Manchester, with winners going on to vie for the title of EY UK Entrepreneur of the Year 2014 and getting a chance to represent their country at a global awards ceremony next year.
The awards, which have been running for 16 years in the UK, are regarded as among the world’s most prestigious of their kind, being truly global in their scale.
They are designed to encourage entrepreneurial activity among those with potential and to recognise the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement.
The 2014 North of England judging panel is chaired by Sir Peter Vardy of Vardy Group, who built his family’s car dealership company, Reg Vardy plc, into a £2bn national business employing 6,000 people, before selling the company in 2006.
Vardy is joined on the panel by eight Northern business leaders, including Neil Stephenson, chief executive of Stockton’s Onyx Group and 2013 North of England category winner Graeme Oram, chief executive of Thornaby-based Five Lamps.
“Recognising and celebrating the success of entrepreneurs is so important,” Vardy said.
“It is a privilege to be involved in the judging of EY’s North of England Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards 2014.
“We will be looking for the best examples of business building, scalability, innovation and contribution to the regional and national economy.
“I am sure we will see some amazing success stories that need to be told so as to encourage the next generation of business builders throughout the UK.”
Last year’s other North of England category winners from the North East included Geoffrey Thompson of South Shields-based Utilitywise and Steve Parkin of Cramlington’s Mayborn Group.
Simon Whiteside, North East Entrepreneur Of The Year Leader at EY, said: “Our 2014 North East finalists have delivered growth by developing tailored propositions.
“Their business achievements are all the more impressive having been conceived and largely delivered during some of the most challenging economic conditions UK companies have ever faced.
“It is crucial that we continue to recognise and support these and other entrepreneurial companies in the North East.
“They lay the foundations for job and wealth creation, and have a critical role to play in our region’s economic expansion.”
Stuart Watson, UK Entrepreneur of the Year Leader, added: “I am delighted to see the calibre of this year’s finalists and wish to congratulate them all.
“The UK’s entrepreneurs have been growing their businesses over the last few years despite the flat economy and are now looking forward to stronger growth.
“These dynamic fast growth businesses are vital to the UK’s global competitiveness and these awards celebrate their success.”
EY is a global assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services business, working in capital markets and in economies throughout the world.