Being part of the EOY programme this year has been incredible. When I got signed up for it I was somewhat sceptical. I wasn’t a fan of the focus of the programme being on individuals but I came to realise that it’s entirely the opposite. The EOY programme promotes group and team. It celebrates the entrepreneur on behalf of the people that are behind them and for that I can’t recommend it highly enough. 

The people 

Since day one of the shortlist announcement I’ve met some fantastic people. Each and every person I’ve had conversations with have taught me something, whether it’s been the EY team, other nominees or the EOY alumni. Some of these people have been in business for a lot longer than me and they’ve given me advice on things that they’ve done wrong so I won’t do the same. Equally, I’ve met some really interesting people who have been in business less time than I have and they’ve brought fresh, new ideas with them too which I’ve found fascinating.

The EY team leading the awards programme have been phenomenal. They’re extremely talented and have pulled out all the stops to make sure all of the nominees are taken care of at every point in the programme. Additionally, I’ve had the opportunity to get advice from them on everything from tax to setting up abroad. Their insights have been extremely valuable.

The business benefit 

From a business perspective the programme has been so beneficial. We’ve received more PR than we could ever afford ourselves in one year. With our rebrand earlier this year that coverage has been invaluable to us. The EOY programme has an excellent reputation so people are very always interested in discussing the programme. I’ve had many opportunities to network with other entrepreneurs and I’m delighted to say we’ve actually gotten some business from the programme, both directly and indirectly. 

The personal benefit 

The programme has allowed me time to take stock of the business which is sometimes hard on a day to day basis. By discussing the journey with other people it makes you think about it yourself and it’s made me appreciate it a whole lot more.

I found the CEO trip to Germany very useful. Firstly, getting away from the office for a few days was definitely worthwhile to allow us all to take that step back and look at the bigger picture before the programme got going. The talks that EY arranged were absolutely superb and extremely insightful. It was also a great opportunity to meet so many excellent entrepreneurs and to share experiences.

From the beginning of the programme we’ve all been involved in all sorts of media interviews; tv, radio & press. Getting tips from the professionals on this has been extremely helpful to me. It’s made me comfortable discussing the business, the journey and our industry. I could talk for hours now on it!! 

Getting the film crew in for the UTV series created a great buzz around the office, and of course watching it back on TV was equally as exciting for the team. Getting shortlisted is a great credit to that same team who work tirelessly to always get stuff done, and done with a smile. 

It’s a fantastic honour to be representing them for the awards and regardless of whether we win our category or not I’m delighted to fly the flag for all 125 of them on awards night. 

Recommendations to other entrepreneurs?

I’d definitely recommend submitting for the awards, or if you know someone who is deserving of it, nominate them!

There’s no right or wrong time to enter. You can always think ‘we’ll do it next year’ but there’s no point putting it off. Just get the application in! And if you don’t get shortlisted, put it in again the following year!

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