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Ernst & Young’s ‘Entrepreneur of the Year award 2012’ tees off

True to its avowed promise to continue to search for outstanding entrepreneurs in West African countries and recognise them for their contributions to economic growth and development, Ernst & Young is set for another round of exciting moments with the kick off of this year’s – 2012 Entrepreneurship award.

The award, which was introduced to West African countries last year and adjudged a huge success by both participants and industry watchers in Nigeria and Ghana, is a yearly event designed to recognise and honour entrepreneurs who through ingenuity, hard work and perseverance have created and sustained successful businesses.

To further expand the scope of the programme, entrepreneurs in Liberia and Sierra Leone will be participating in this year’s edition.

The winner of the 2011 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year (West Africa Edition) – Master category Mr. Aigboje Aig- Imoukhuede, GMD Access Bank, will be representing West Africa at the prestigious World Entrepreneur of the Year Award taking place in Monte Carlo.

According to Ernst & Young Regional Managing Partner for West Africa, Mr. Henry Egbiki, the Entrepreneur of the Year award programme was brought to the region to motivate and encourage entrepreneurs in West Africa to maximise their potential.

Ferdinand Gunn, Managing Partner for Ghana, said he believes the EOY is one of the evidences of the giant strides entrepreneurs, business leaders are making in this part of Africa.

Mr Gunn said “Africa’s progress has been phenomenon as the continent has remained the most attractive for investment in recent times”.

“Entrepreneurs change the world. They dare to dream that life could be different. They have the courage and passion to make their dreams a reality – to build something of lasting value that benefits us all. These special people have created many of the world’s most dynamic and successful companies,” he said.

“The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award celebrates their remarkable achievements. That’s why it’s the world’s most prestigious business accolade – it recognizes the most exceptional among a unique group of people. Ernst & Young has brought this award to the West African region, driven by the need to motivate and celebrate entrepreneurs within the region to support them to meet and interact with their counterparts across the Globe,” he added

The 2011 edition of the award covered only Nigeria and Ghana and efforts are being made to include Liberia and Sierra Leone in the 2012 programme.

Speaking on this year’s edition, Mrs. Bunmi Akinde, a Senior Partner in Ernst & Young Advisory Services, Nigeria office and the Entrepreneur of Year leader for West Africa, described the initiative as a ‘welcome development’ in the region, noting that the inclusion of Liberia and Sierra Leone in its second year is a proof that the programme is making progress.

She said the awards come in four categories, namely: Master, Emerging, Life Time Achievement and Social.

Mrs Akinde said to qualify for the Master Entrepreneur category, a nominee must be an exclusive leader of one or more businesses for over 10 years; listed or privately held, recognised as a leading industry person as well as a driver of market leadership in any sector.

In addition, the nominee’s business turnover must be in the neighbourhood of $ 80 million, coupled with consistent growth in profitability and number of employees.

For the Emerging category, a nominee must be an emerging leader who has been in active business for a minimum of two years up to seven years, with a consistent turnover of $ 8 million as well as possessing potential for fast growth in profitability and strength of employees.

While the Life Time Achievement award recognises people whose contributions have consistently been towards making an environment conducive for other people, the Social Entrepreneur award has a special focus on social impact, innovation, sustainability, development and encouragement.

The winner for the Master category for 2012 will join his counterparts from over 50 countries around the world to compete for the World Entrepreneur of the Year Award in Monte Carlo in 2013.

The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year programme was started in a small mid-western town (Milwaukee, Wiscons, USA) in 1986. The award is now held in over 135 cities and more than 50 countries.

This article was originally posted on Africa ICT & Telecom Network


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