Two North West entrepreneurs were among 13 business leaders who took home EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2015 UK awards at a ceremony in London last night. James Wilkinson, CEO at Macclesfield-based Zuto and Gareth Mobley, CEO at Stoke On Trent-based DW3 Products Group were both honoured on the night.
James Wilkinson Zuto was praised by the judges for ‘making the most of exciting and innovative technology’ to build his online business in a competitive market. They also admired his recognition for the need to ‘build a strong team’ and ‘a compelling structure’ around him to help the business succeed. Zuto partners with a panel of lenders to provide car finance options and car buying know-how to its customers.
DW3 Products Group’s Gareth Mobley’s ‘determination to be both disruptive and innovative’ impressed the judges. As well as supporting local charities and being a strong advocate for UK manufacturing, the judges recognised his ‘well-articulated, long-term strategy for growth’. DW3 Products Group is a manufacturer of high-quality, energy-efficient composite doors for the home improvement market.
Healthcare innovator Richard Steeves, Founder and CEO of Swindon-headquartered Synergy Health, was crowned EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2015 UK overall winner. Richard will go on to represent the UK at EY’s World Entrepreneur Of The Year awards in Monaco next summer to compete with more than 60 other country winners for the global title.
Establishing Synergy in 1991, Richard identified a gap in the market and introduced surgical packs to reduce the rate of HIV infection in operating theatres. The company now processes more than 150m reusable medical and surgical instruments a year and makes daily deliveries of sterile reusable gowns, towels and set up packs.
Robert Crooks, Partner and North West Entrepreneur of the Year Programme Leader at EY, said: “James and Gareth’s strong leadership, innovation and entrepreneurial mind-sets have helped their companies to grow rapidly, and they have now been recognised amongst the UK’s leading entrepreneurs.
“Gareth and James reflect the wealth of entrepreneurial talent in the North West and it is great to see the region represented with two winners. Under their leadership, Zuto and DW3 Products Group will continue to generate wealth and jobs, and make an even greater economic impact in the North West over the coming years.” Discussing his award win, James Wilkinson, CEO at Zuto, added: “When we launched in 2006 we wanted to build an experience around our customers that would show them a better way to buy a car. This passion has driven the business from day one and continues to be key to Zuto’s continued success. This wouldn’t be possible without the incredible team around me, and I would like to share this award and recognition from the judges with each of them for all of their hard work in helping turn our vision into reality.”
Now in its 17th year in the UK, EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year brings together dynamic business leaders of fast growth companies who are creating growth, confidence and generating positive impact in their markets.
Winners were selected by an independent judging panel which was chaired by John Spence, Chairman and CEO of Karma Royal Group, and also included Sir Michael Bibby, Managing Director at Bibby Line Group. The 35 companies competing in the final have combined revenue of over £3.5bn and employ a workforce of over 300,000.
Robert commented: “It is vital that we recognise the country’s entrepreneurial talent, who play a vital role in building the businesses that drive economic expansion. We need to continue to nurture and develop the next generation of entrepreneurs, who create the jobs and growth that help our country thrive.
“All of the Northern entrepreneurs involved in this year’s programme have built outstanding businesses. They give me confidence in the prospects for our regional economy over the coming years.”