North East Connected

Social Enterprise Award for Gentoo’s Peter Walls

Screen Shot 2015-06-24 at 13.56.57Gentoo Group’s Chief Executive, Peter Walls has received an award for social enterprise at the North of England EY Entrepreneur Of The Year dinner in Manchester.

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year is the world’s most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The unique award makes a difference through the way it encourages entrepreneurial activity amongst those with potential and recognises the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement.

As the first and only truly global award of its kind, Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognizing them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 145 cities in more than 60 countries.

Award winners were selected by an independent judging panel chaired by Utiligroup chairman Ian Kelly from a short-list of 36 businesses that collectively turnover £2.5bn.

Peter Walls has been the Chief Executive of North East based Gentoo Group since its inception. Describing itself as a large social enterprise with a vision to improve the Art of Living, the Group employs over 1,800 staff. The organisation’s work is focused around three key areas to maximize its impact: people, planet and property.

It invests the income from its property activities along with the talent and energy of its staff into finding solutions for some of society’s most pressing concerns. Ultimately the Group aims to enable people to realise their true potential and achieve their aspirations.

The judges were impressed by the way Peter has built a ‘first class team’ around him, his outstanding entrepreneurial attributes, his reputation and the way he wants to create a ‘legacy’ in the North East.

Speaking about his award, Peter Walls said: “I am delighted to have been recognised with this prestigious award and to be amongst so many talented entrepreneurial business leaders. This really is an achievement for the whole of Gentoo and the fantastic, passionate people I have working alongside me.

“As a social enterprise we continue to set ourselves ambitious targets and measure success on the positive social impact our decisions and actions have. This award really shows we are heading in the right direction.”

Simon Whiteside, Director and North East Entrepreneur Of The Year Leader at EY, said: “It’s outstanding to see the North East so well represented amongst the winners of this year’s Northern awards. All the region’s winning companies have been innovative and bold in capitalising on new opportunities as they’ve arisen. They’ve helped to generate wealth and jobs, making a real economic and social impact in the North East.”

Peter will now go forward to represent the North at the UK Entrepreneur Of The Year finals in October.

Now in its 17th year in the UK, EY Entrepreneur Of The Year brings together dynamic business leaders of fast-growth companies who are creating growth, confidence at pace, and generating a positive impact in their markets at home and abroad.

To find out more about Gentoo, visit or follow @gentoogroup on Twitter.

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