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Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalists' businesses 'pushing the limits'

Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalists' businesses 'pushing the limits'
John Penno

Synlait Milk's John Penno and Xero's Rod Drury are among five category award winners in Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year awards.

Penno was named product category winner, and Drury technology & emerging industries winner. Murray Holdaway of Vista Entertainment Solutions is master category winner, Au Pair Link/My Food Bag's Cecilia Robinson won the young entrepreneur category, and Tax Management NZ's Ian Kuperus won in the services category.

The five were selected from a field of 18 finalists. An overall winner from among the five will be announced on October 17. This person will then go on to represent New Zealand in Monaco next June at E&Y's World Entrepreneur of the Year event.

The judging panel comprises chairman Greg Cross of Cross Ventures and PowerbyProxi, Emerald Group's Diane Foreman, Bill Day of Seaworks, Jucy's Tim Alpe, and Michael Hill International's Emma Hill.

E&Y says judging criteria included entrepreneurial spirit, personal integrity and influence, financial performance, strategic direction, and national and global impact.

Awards director and E&Y partner Jon Hooper notes many of the finalists already have global businesses pursuing international growth.

“There is no limitation in terms of geography for these companies," says Hooper. "They are no longer just New Zealand firms but are focused on being dominant global players. We are seeing businesses that are pushing the limits.”

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The kiss of death - as it is known in the industry.


Leaving that fine little distinction behind - my vote is for Penno and his team.  It hasn't always been easy and taken longer than they initially wanted or thought but still prevailed and that is the true nature of being an entrepreneur.  They have kept their head down and worked hard and it has translated through to actually results and profits - which is a marked comparison with some of their competitors who actively self promote and gossip about competitors, and measure success with superficial measures.