Entrepreneur of Year finalists out
Xero CEO Rod Drury is one of five category winners and finalists in the EY Entrepreneur of the Year for 2013.
Drury, who founded software-as-a-service firm Xero in 2006, is the technology category winner.
My Food Bag and Au Pair Link founder Cecilia Robinson has won the young entrepreneur category, while Vista Entertainment Solutions chief executive Murray Holdaway has taken the master title.
In the products category is Synlait Milk co-founder John Penno, and Tax Management NZ director Ian Kuperus has claimed the services prize.
The five were chosen from a field of 18 finalists, and will face the judging panel again on October 16 before the overall winner is announced at a dinner in Auckland the following night.
The winner will travel to Monte Carlo in June 2014 to compete in EY’s World Entrepreneur Of The Year event.
Drury said the win came early in the development of Xero, but he had run several businesses before that and it was humbling to be in the company of people such as last year’s Entrepreneur of the Year, Craig Heatley.
If he was lucky enough to go to Monte Carlo it would be to win. "We’re not here to take prisoners," he said.
Cecilia Robinson said she was "genuinely surprised" at being named young entrepreneur.
"I think the competition is pretty stiff and I’m really pleased with winning my category."
Robinson set up Au Pair Link six years ago and has just launched dinner to your door enterprise My Food Bag.
"We’ve got two businesses and a little baby boy, it’s pretty challenging," she said.
Murray Holdaway said the recognition was pleasing.
"We don’t do a lot of this kind of publicity-type stuff in our company and just decided we’d do a couple of things lately."
However, it was challenging to be in the limelight, he said.
"This one’s partly about your company and partly about you, and New Zealanders aren’t very good at expounding their own virtues."
Cinema software company Vista now has 160 staff with customers in 58 countries. There was still room for growth, Holdaway said.
"We’ve got only a tiny foothold in China, and even in the mature markets like the US and Europe we’ve got plenty of new work there."
Chief judge Greg Cross, from Cross Ventures and PowerbyProxy, said the quality and scale of the businesses run by this year’s finalists were the highest he’d seen.
"Overall, the size and scale of the businesses these entrepreneurs are building has gone to the next level in terms of revenue, profitability and the markets they are aspiring to," he said.
The judges’ criteria included entrepreneurial spirit, personal integrity and influence, financial performance, strategic direction, and national and global impact.