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Panel Announced To Select NZ Leading Entrepreneur

Judging Panel Announced To Select New Zealand’s Leading Entrepreneur

Five of New Zealand’s leading business people have been appointed to judge this year’s Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

The 2004 judges are Michael Hill, Sir Clifford Skeggs, Nevil Gibson, Melissa Clark-Reynolds and David Johnson.

Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award Director, Carol Campbell, says this year’s judging panel combines business expertise and entrepreneurial spirit.

“Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year celebrates the spirit of entrepreneurship, individual excellence and passion – qualities that are also embodied by each of the judges,” she says.

Michael Hill, Founder and Chairman of multinational company Michael Hill Jeweller, has been an Entrepreneur of the Year judge for the past three years. A Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, Mr Hill says he continues to be impressed by how much talent is out there.

“It is vital that leadership is encouraged in New Zealand. I applaud Ernst & Young for rewarding entrepreneurs who will shape the future of our country,” says Mr Hill.

He is joined on the judging panel by returning judge, and highly respected entrepreneur, Sir Clifford Skeggs of the Skeggs Group of Companies. Sir Clifford’s business interests span deepwater fishing, transport, property, hospitality and of late, winemaking. Knighted in 1987, Sir Clifford was Mayor of Dunedin from 1977 through to 1989 and has had a long and prominent involvement in local body politics and companies in Otago.

Nevil Gibson is Editor-in-Chief of New Zealand’s leading weekly business publication, the National Business Review (NBR). First appointed NBR editor in 1989, Mr Gibson has had a distinguished career in business journalism. Mr Gibson is deputy chairman of the Magazine Publishers Association of New Zealand and represents that body on the New Zealand Journalists Training Organisation. He is chairman of the strategic advisory board at Unitec. He has been involved in the NBR Enterprise New Zealand Business Hall of Fame since its inception in 1994 and has judged various business awards, including Manukau, North Shore, Waitakere, Pacific Business Trust and Institute of Chartered Accountants.

One of New Zealand’s most successful female entrepreneurs, Melissa Clark-Reynolds set up a health and safety and ACC consultancy which grew over seven years to become part of Fusion (New Zealand's largest private ACC insurer). When the Labour government nationalised the business in 2001, she sold her shares to Southern Cross healthcare and refocused her activities.

Ms Clark-Reynolds now invests in businesses and provides "capable capital" - providing both investment and hands on entrepreneurial capability to turn businesses around. She is currently involved with a manufacturing company, a children's learning business and is Chief Executive of INTAZ Ltd (a health and safety software and solutions company), in Hamilton.

Passionate about entrepreneurship, she represented New Zealand at the APEC Forum on encouraging Women Entrepreneurs. As well as being a past judge for EY Entrepreneur of the Year (2000), she is also featured in Her Business magazine's Hall of Fame and was named as one of the 150 most powerful women in New Zealand Business (Unlimited Magazine 2002).

The panel is completed with inaugural New Zealand Entrepreneur of the Year Winner David Johnson. In true entrepreneurial fashion, Mr Johnson set up his first business at the age of 18.

From there, and throughout his career, he has constantly evolved and grown his business interests.

Mr Johnson is the founder, Chairman and Publisher of Trends Publishing International. One of the largest, privately owned media companies in the world, Trends remains New Zealand-based, with its head office, sales, editorial and production staff in Auckland.

Entries are now open for 2004 Entrepreneur of the Year, which is entering its seventh year in New Zealand. Ms Campbell says while the award recognises an individual, the high profile recognition can provide a company with a big boost in areas such as sales, professional reputation, investor and customer relations, employee morale and public relations.

“The Entrepreneur of the Year Award is a key reference point for this country's future as a prosperous, creative and innovative nation, and a way to celebrate the spirit of Kiwi enterprise.

“We’re interested in hearing from anyone who thinks they and their business story could represent New Zealand in this prestigious international award,” says Ms Campbell.

Categories for the 2004 Entrepreneur of the Year programme include:

Young Entrepreneur (under 30 years of age)

Master Entrepreneur (for well established businesses)

Retail/Consumer and Industrial Products

Services including Financial, Business, Property and Arts, and

Technology/Communication & Biotechnology.

The programme was launched over 17 years ago by Ernst & Young worldwide to recognise entrepreneurial excellence around the globe. It now runs in 35 countries and has an illustrious list of past winners around the world including Michael Dell, Dell Computer Corporation; Scott McNealy, Sun Microsystems; Jeff Bezos,; and Howard Schultz, Starbucks Coffee.

Entrepreneur of the Year is recognised as the world's most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs and it is the only global business award operating in New Zealand.

……….story ends

NOTE: More information about Entrepreneur of the Year can be found at Ernst & Young’s website -

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