Dorset business leaders who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, drive and entrepreneurial flair while growing their organisations are being sought to enter the 2013 Entrepreneur of the Year Award, part of the Dorset Business Awards in association with the Daily Echo and Dorset Echo.

Sponsored by Bournemouth University, last year’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award was presented to Paul Woods, managing director of Astute Ltd, a business-to-business marketing services agency.  The judges commented that Paul ‘demonstrated that his agency has sustained growth in a competitive and demanding global market through a having a clear vision and strong management.’

Title holder Paul Woods says: “I was completely surprised and delighted to win the Entrepreneur of the Year Award.  Winning created a great internal buzz, a feel-good factor within the firm, and our clients received our award-winning news extremely well.

“Astute was established 15 years ago and since winning this Award the agency has continued to grow and recruit new talent, up to 10 employees a week currently, in order for us to maintain our success.”

Paul adds: “The process of entering is straight-forward and it is a useful exercise to complete as it makes you look into the strengths and weaknesses of your business.  My tip to anyone planning on entering this Award category is to perhaps focus on the business rather  than the person because it’s the business that enables the entrepreneur to be successful.”

The Entrepreneur of the Year Award is open to any company, team or individual based in Dorset.  Entrants must able to demonstrate the realisation of their entrepreneurial vision and how it has contributed to the economic and social well-being of the county.  Those entrants shortlisted will be visited at their offices by the judging panel and this will involve a brief discussion and tour of the business premises (if appropriate).

Entrepreneur of the Year checklist

To be in with a chance of winning entrants will need to evidence:

  • Dorset-based and trading as a sole trader, limited company, partnerships, social enterprise or charity
  • Why you should become Entrepreneur of the Year
  • What obstacles have you overcome to achieve success and how did you overcome them
  • How the business has benefited the economic and social well-being of Dorset

Dean Patton, professor of entrepreneurship, comments: “Dorset-based entrepreneurs who have excelled in business over the past year, against a difficult economic backdrop, are being sought for recognition.  The county is a hive of successful, ambitious business professionals, and we would like to encourage them to enter.

“Past winners have been resourceful business leaders whose drive and determination have helped them reach commercial success.”

The Awards are also backed by the south’s leading radio station Wave 105 and are free to enter.  Entrants can submit an entry via or print off an entry form and submit a paper-based entry. The closing date for entry is Tuesday September 10. Entrants do not need to be a member of Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

For further information about the Awards, sponsorship opportunities or to reserve tickets for the Gala Dinner which will take place at the Lighthouse, Poole, on Thursday November 28 please contact Shirley Ewart on 01202 714812.

Sponsor profile – Bournemouth University

Bournemouth University (BU) has developed a strong reputation for offering a wide range of opportunities and support for enterprise activity within the region.

Working with the local community and encouraging entrepreneurial activity allows BU to harness its strengths in adding value to new ventures.

Inspired by a clear vision for the future, BU continues to develop new initiatives and programmes to help realise the potential of tomorrow’s employees and business leaders.