EY has announced its EY Entrepreneur Of The Year North finalists, with six entrepreneurs from four businesses across the North East making the shortlist.

The programme celebrates ‘unstoppable entrepreneurs’ from across the country. This year’s finalists represent some of the North East’s most inspiring business leaders, who are making a positive impact on the economy.

In the face of the continued challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the finalists have also displayed remarkable resilience and innovative spirit. The finalists, of which two are based in Newcastle, are from two sectors; consumer and technology.

The North East finalists are:

  • Michael Roy, COO and Dan Foskett, CEO of Connection Retail, an omnichannel retailer providing indoor and outdoor flooring products, based in Bishop Auckland.
  • Jonathan Grubin, Founder and CEO of SoPost, a technology company which enables customers to run their online product sampling campaigns, based in Newcastle.
  • Dean Benson, CEO of Visualsoft, a digital marketing agency which provides an e-commerce ecosystem that combines platform, support and marketing services to clients, based in Thornaby.
  • Daniel Luper, CEO and Tom Jeffrey, Managing Director of Wave Direct, an ecommerce retailer selling outdoor leisure products including hot tubs, based in Newcastle.

Ben Wildsmith, EY Strategy and Transactions Partner and EY Entrepreneur Of The Year leader in the North said: “This year’s group of North finalists are exceptional. After what has been an extremely challenging year, I am so impressed by the levels of resilience, determination and belief that we have seen from all of the finalists across Yorkshire.

“This year’s EY Entrepreneur Of The Year programme recognises and champions the achievements of some of the most tenacious entrepreneurs from across the North. I am delighted to welcome each finalist into our entrepreneurial community and look forward to seeing their continued success.”

Victoria Price, UK EY Private Tax Leader and EY Entrepreneur Of The Year UK Partner Lead, said: “We know that entrepreneurs will be at the heart of the UK’s post-COVID-19 economic recovery, delivering the innovation and growth we need. The regional finalists are proof that many entrepreneurs have been unstoppable in the face of adversity over the past year continuing to display their incredible ambition to make a difference and solve some of business and society’s biggest challenges. Never before has it been so important to recognise and celebrate their achievements.”

Four regional judging panels will convene virtually in June to select the regional winners. These entrepreneurs will then progress to represent their region at UK judging in October and the announcement of the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year UK overall winner in November. The overall UK winner will then go on to represent the UK at the ‘EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year’ in 2022, which recognises inspiring entrepreneurs from more than 60 countries.

The full list of EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2021 regional finalists by region is available here: https://www.ey.com/en_uk/entrepreneur-of-the-year/regional-finalists

Sponsors

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year’s headline sponsor is leading Swiss wealth management group Julius Baer.

David Durlacher, CEO, Julius Baer International Limited, the Entrepreneur Of The Year UK Headline Sponsor said: “Meeting the applicants for the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year UK programme over the last few weeks has been truly inspiring – the strength of entrepreneurism across the UK is simply outstanding, particularly given the difficulties faced over the last 18 months from the pandemic. A huge congratulations to those who have made it through to be finalists – no easy feat amongst such tough competition.”