Growing Business Awards judging day: Entrepreneur of the Year

Competition is fierce for the Entrepreneur of the Year title among this years shortlisted candidates. Well, at least among four of the applicants. “What am I here for again?” asks Marc Boyan, who founded his barter firm Miroma in 2003. “And what do I have to do again?”

You’re at the Growing Business awards judging day and you’re about to be interviewed by a terrifying panel of judges, we tell him.

“But I haven’t prepared!” he says, before being dragged into the judging room. Good luck, Marc. I’m sure it’ll be a breeze (ahem).

Sukhi Ghuman was called away by an emergency late last night and could not appear for his interview today. Nevertheless, the judges will evaluate his firm, Octavian Security, at a later date and the Midlands-based security services company is still in the running for the gong.

Karen Paterson, who founded Patersons Global HR & Payroll in 1996, has already had her interview with the judges via teleconference. Her complex IT firms juggles the HR legislation for its global roster of clients and turned over ?40m last year. Could she be a contender for the prize?

Gary Summers has never attended a judging day like this before. “I hate public speaking,” he confesses. Summers is the only entrepreneur to deliver his pitch and answer the judges’ questions standing up. “That wasn’t too bad,” he says.

Summers has a slight advantage: Andrew Burke, founding director of the Bettany Centre of Entrepreneurial Performance and Economics at the Cranfield School of Management is already a fan of his. “I live in Leamington and I’ve have a pint in your bar many times,” he tells Summers.

But Summers isn’t here representing his bar, helicopter hire firm, or any number of his other entrepreneurial endeavours. He’s here as the founder of Alumet, the Southam-based envelope contractor. Summers won our Product of the Year award last year with his bomb-blast proof cladding facade system. Will he make it two years in a row?

Lastly, Dale Vince, the eco-entrepreneur dubbed “Outlaw” by Real Business for his eco-warrior roots and bullish defence of wind turbines, appears via videoconference. John Caudwell, judge and Phone4U founder, bellows through the wall: “How do you justify these blots on the landscape?”, to which Vince replies, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!” to much amusement.

The interviews are over, the judges are deliberating. Who will win? Come to the Growing Business Awards on 26 November and find out! Click here to book tickets.

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