World Entrepreneur of the Year Award

Monaco Life speaks to EY Global Growth Markets Leader Ryan Burke about this week’s virtual World Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
What is the World Entrepreneur of the Year Award and why was it created?
We recognise entrepreneurs through regional and national programs in more than 145 cities and more than 60 countries. The World Entrepreneur of the Year (WEOY) is the culmination of the over 60 individual country winners (46 this year due to Covid) competing for the coveted overall WEOY winner. While EOY has been around for over 30 years, our WEOY program started 20 years ago in Monaco. It was created to recognise the important impact entrepreneurs have in their communities, businesses and our local and global economies.
Last year’s event was the first main conference to take place at the newly inaugurated One Monte Carlo. What was that like? 
One Monte Carlo is a beautiful venue – we were literally the first “patrons” at the venue as the finishing touches were being completed days and just hours before our event(s). As everything in Monaco is really spectacular – One Monte Carlo is a tribute to that excellence. It gave us much needed options as we are constantly moving hundreds of guests at a time many times a day during the week.
Can you tell us about this year’s virtual event?
This is our first ever virtual EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year Event to be held on 4th June 2:00 EST/8:00 pm EST where we’ll honour unstoppable entrepreneurs from around the globe. We have partnered with CNBC Catalyst who will be live streaming our program around the world across not just their platform but many social media platforms (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, etc). We will be joined live by all of our country winners and will announce our winner on air at the conclusion of our one hour program. We will also highlight some great stories of our current year winners being unstoppable in their adaptation to the current Covid-19 crisis.
How are the nominees for World Entrepreneur of the Year chosen?
The country winners are chosen first by independent (ie not EY) judges who are primarily past winners, entrepreneurs and key members of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. The global winners are selected by an elite panel of independent judges including former world winners and high-profile entrepreneurs from around the world. This panel encompasses diversity from every angle.
What advice has EY been providing amid the Covid-19 health crisis?
Our teams around the world have been focused on assisting our clients around their enterprise resiliency on nine key topics below. It has shifted at first from employee safety and well-being and into topics on returning safely to their work place. Capital and liquidity issues – from a business standpoint – is top of mind for most companies. Our clients, as you can imagine, are quite diverse. Some are in very different places during this crisis pending their size, location, sector and capital structure.

  1. Employee health and wellbeing
  2. Talent and workforce
  3. Supply chain and global trade
  4. Customer and brand
  5. Financial and investor
  6. Risk
  7. Government and public policy
  8. Technology and information security
  9. Insurance and legal disputes

How have you seen entrepreneurs react to the crisis?
Honestly, one of the greatest aspects of this program is finding amazing entrepreneurs – during a crisis – whose stories often become so much more meaningful and important. We have highlighted just a few of the hundreds we have seen, here.
Building a better world seems to be the underlying theme to many of the Entrepreneurs of the Year. Why in your opinion is this so important?
EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year honours the trail-blazing business leaders of the world: the unstoppable visionaries who stop at nothing to achieve their ambition to make a difference. They inspire innovation without limitation. They fuel growth and prosperity by building remarkable companies and services. Simply put, they are the entrepreneurs who are rising up to reinvent the future and helping to create global unity.
Where will next year’s awards be held?
We cannot wait to be live again in beautiful Monaco. We all are hoping for normal times to return to allow us to do so – which we are confident will happen. We also plan to celebrate our 20th anniversary, which is this current year, next year in a more formal way for our many country winners who very much look forward to the experience we provide in Monaco along with next year’s country winners.
Our partnership with the Principality for 20 years has been a real pillar of our success of this globally well-known program. We greatly value the relationships, people and friendships we have built over these past two decades with the Principality of Monaco.