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EY Entrepreneur of The Year finalists announced

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

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. 

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. 

Director of EY Entrepreneur of the Year, New Zealand, Darren White, says 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. 

“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.”

Brianne West, Ethique – Category winner, Young Entrepreneur (2019)

ASB has returned as principal sponsor for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year programme in New Zealand for the ninth year running. ASB Executive General Manager for Business Banking, Tim Deane, says each year nominees are becoming 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:

Grace GlassThe Natural Paint Company NZ’s largest provider of healthier and sustainable coatings
Dr Max FergusonNitrolabs Ltd User-friendly means to
manage, annotate and share
documents from the web
browser or connected device
Bradley FraserSenior Move ManagersHelping senior citizens move home 
Ajay AgarwalGlobal Financial Services LtdFacilitating loans to purchase
homes, investment property,
business or commercial property. 
Stuart WilsonModica GroupEnterprise Messaging platform 

Dave DarlingPacific Edge LtdCancer Diagnostics Company 
Bob Drummond, Jordan Thoms, Alliv Samson Hengjie WangKamiDigital classroom application
which enables students and
teachers to collaborate on
digital documents 
Asantha Wijeyeratne 
PaySauceSoftware for people at work,
providing employment
solutions to small businesses 
Brooke Roberts, Sonya Williams, Leighton Roberts 
Sharesies Group LtdCreating the most financially
empowered generation.
Giving people with $5 the 
same money opportunities
as someone with $5 million 

James FullerHnry LtdCombines automated
payment services, online
accounting services and
revolutionary software to
release independent earners
from the pain, hassle and
anxiety of financial admin 
Gary Rohloff 
Laybuy Group Holdings Ltd 
Laybuy is a Buy Now Pay
Later (BNPL) platform. 
Wayne Zeng 
Chancellor Construction Ltd 

Construction company
focusing on affordable
housing project construction 
Wendy Thompson 
Socialites Group 
Aotearoa’s largest
independent social media
James Parfitt 
New Zealand Wild Catch Ltd 
Premium added-value
seafood company
predominantly focused on
the sustainable harvesting 
Matthew Bennett 
Taking the world’s best fruit,
gently bakes it and packages
it at source, with no sugar or
other nasties 
Amber Cordero, Jacqueline Taylor 
NZ Natural Pet Food Company 
Natural Pet Food & Treat
James Powell, Stefan Powell 
Dawn Aerospace 
Space transportation
company providing in-space
satellite propulsion to its
customers globally and
developing a same-day
reusable spaceplan 

Grant Taylor, Rascal & Friends – Category Winner, Product (2019).

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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