Finalists announced for Duke of York new entrepreneur of the year award

The judges decided the five finalists who will now face a public vote to help decide the overall winner of the inaugural Duke of York New Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

The five Duke of York New Entrepreneur of the Year finalists are:
– Emma Cerrone, Free:Formers
– Alistair Smit, The Magic Thermodynamic Box
– Ben Weaver, Outlook Publishing Ltd
– Kathryn Birch, Translive Global
– Jay Radia, Yieldify

Each semi finalist presented a three minute pitch on their business model, key achievements and elements underpinning future growth. The judging panel – which included Ed Wray, co-founder of Betfair; Charmaine Eggberry, former Wayra director and CEO of Plan B Consulting; Thea Green, nails inc founder; Guy Rigby, Head of Entrepreneur Services at Smith & Williamson; and Simon Burckhardt, Managing Director of Vonage UK – commented on the exceptional talent and future prospects of the finalists. They focused on the market opportunity identified, the model to capitalise on it and how it has been executed within the first 18 months of trading.

The Duke of York has with the National Business Awards established the Award as part of his support for the UK’s promising new entrepreneurs. HRH believes that encouraging more entrepreneurial endeavour will lead to greater opportunities for people to become economically active. Speaking at the event The Duke described how committed he is to supporting initiatives – such as the award – that accelerate, amplify and reward entrepreneurial skills.

HRH The Duke of York said: “If we’re going to employ people we’re going to have to be more entrepreneurial. We’re going to have to find ways of encouraging young people or people who are in businesses, who see a niche in the market, to get out there and start their own business. What’s very interesting listening to each of the semi finalists, has been the fact that you’ve all come from different backgrounds, you’ve all had different experiences and you’re all setting off down a path, not only to be a business in its own right, but that you want to grow quickly. If there’s one thing that can make a difference to prosperity in the UK it’s high growth, fast growth businesses. Listening to these people shows that we’re on the right track.”

Alex Evans, Programme Director for the National Business Awards said: “The courage and conviction of these new entrepreneurs really came through in their pitches. What they all had in common was a purpose beyond profit – with personal values embedded in their business models.”

Vonage, a leading provider of internet telephony for small businesses, and Lead Supporter of the Duke of York New Entrepreneur of the Year Award, has partnered with the National Business Awards to find and recognise the best first-time business founders. They will now provide each finalist with access to their products and services to help them continue to grow their business.

Simon Burckhardt, Managing Director of Vonage UK said; “Entrepreneurs like the ones we had a chance to hear from today are the back-bone of this economy. They are an example of the innovation, creativity and passion that exists in the UK business community. While we may have selected five finalists, the competition was tough, not unlike the current business environment.”

The ten semi-finalists benefited from face to face presentation coaching to hone their three minute pitch – provided by Beermat Entrepreneur Mike Southon, who designed the ‘5 P Elevator Pitch’ to focus on Pain, Premise, People, Proof, and Purpose. All registered attendees used a new web-based networking app to connect before, during and after the event, provided by, and the audience was able to pose questions, vote and poll throughout the event using

Recognising enterprise excellence, innovation and ethics, the thirteenth annual National Business Awards will celebrate a range of achievements through 17 award categories – the winners will be revealed on 11 November 2014.