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EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Finalists Revealed

From fighting crime, to digital classrooms, and creating the next financially empowered generation, this year’s finalists represent the growing shift in entrepreneurism in New Zealand

New Zealand’s top entrepreneurs continue to break the mold and overcome adversity after a year fraught with invisible hurdles and global uncertainty. Twenty-seven entrepreneurs from eighteen Kiwi businesses represent the diversity and resilience of the industry, with finalists hailing from up and down the country, and industries including investment, marketing, space and aeronautical, education and food supplies.

After skipping a year due to the global pandemic, the finalists, who generate more than $175m in revenue, will go on to compete to be category winners and for the ultimate title of EY Entrepreneur of the Year for 2021. From there, for New Zealand’s EY Entrepreneur of the Year for 2021, they will go on to compete for the title of World Entrepreneur of the Year.

Director of EY Entrepreneur of the Year, New Zealand, Darren White, said with fifteen of the eighteen business operating globally, this year will be filled with stories that embody the essence of New Zealand, and will highlight some of the challenges many organisations have faced.

“After a turbulent year filled with global uncertainty and challenges around every corner, it is a privilege to recognise the ambition, tenacity and sheer grit of these outstanding leaders – a true testament to home grown talent taking on the world stage and bolstering the New Zealand economy.

“Their incredible stories reflect the changing landscape of entrepreneurism in New Zealand; one that features a greater emphasis on purpose, empowerment, sustainability, community and breaking down barriers.

“By wielding innovative technology and tackling some of the world’s biggest challenges, these entrepreneurs demonstrate that while New Zealand is at the bottom of the earth, we’re certainly not at the bottom of the list when it comes to addressing much needed change. Their fearless attitude will pave the wave for more Kiwi entrepreneurs to think big and lead with purpose.”

ASB returns as principal sponsor for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year programme in New Zealand for the ninth year running, and ASB Executive General Manager for Business Banking Tim Deane says each year nominees get more inspiring.

“At ASB we have a long history of involvement in initiatives that support and celebrate excellence, so it is fantastic to continue to be involved in this prestigious programme, contributing to the development of innovative New Zealand businesses and business leaders.”

The finalists are:

Phil Thomson, James Corbett, Tom BatterburyAuror LtdCrime intelligence software platform helping retailers to report, solve, and prevent crime
Grace Glass The Natural Paint Company NZ’s largest provider of healthier and sustainable coatings.
Dr Max Ferguson Nitrolabs LtdUser-friendly means to manage, annotate and share documents from the web browser or connected device
Bradley Fraser Senior Move Managers Helping senior citizens move home
Ajay AgarwalGlobal Financial Services LtdFacilitating loans to purchase homes, investment property, business or commercial property.
Stuart Wilson Modica Group Enterprise Messaging platform
Dave Darling Pacific Edge LtdCancer Diagnostics Company
Bob Drummond, Jordan Thoms, Alliv Samson Hengjie WangKami Digital classroom application which enables students and teachers to collaborate on digital documents
Asantha WijeyeratnePaySauceSoftware for people at work, providing employment solutions to small businesses
Brooke Roberts, Sonya Williams, Leighton RobertsSharesies Group LtdCreating the most financially empowered generation. Giving people with $5 the same money opportunities as someone with $5 million
James Fuller Hnry LtdCombines automated payment services, online accounting services and revolutionary software to release independent earners from the pain, hassle and anxiety of financial admin
Gary RohloffLaybuy Group Holdings LtdLaybuy is a Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) platform.
Wayne Zeng Chancellor Construction LtdConstruction company focusing on affordable housing project construction
Wendy Thompson Socialites Group Aotearoa’s largest independent social media agency.
James Parfitt New Zealand Wild Catch LtdPremium added-value seafood company predominantly focused on the sustainable harvesting,
Matthew Bennett Nibblish Taking the world’s best fruit, gently bakes it and packages it at source, with no sugar or other nasties
Amber Cordero, Jacqueline TaylorNZ Natural Pet Food Company Natural Pet Food & Treat Company
James Powell, Stefan PowellDawn Aerospace Space transportation company providing in-space satellite propulsion to its customers globally and developing a same-day reusable spaceplan

The finalists will be assessed by a panel of independent judges, including previous EY Entrepreneur Of The Year award winners across six core criteria: entrepreneurial spirit, innovation, personal integrity and influence, financial performance, strategic direction, and national and global impact.

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