Left to right – Mark Ridolfo of Bournemouth University and Matt Hawkins of C4L

Are you or your business able to demonstrate outstanding leadership, entrepreneurial vision and flair? Innovative Dorset business leaders, who have grown their organisations while supporting the economic and social well-being of Dorset, are being invited to enter the 2014 Entrepreneur of the Year Award, part of the 20th annual 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 Matt Hawkins, chairman of C4L, a leading data centre and connectivity solutions provider.  The judges commented that Matt ‘demonstrated that his firm has sustained growth and innovation through having a clear vision and technical expertise and that his significant achievements, coupled with his drive, enthusiasm and entrepreneurial instincts, contributed to the judges’ decision to name him as the overall winner of the Entrepreneur of the Year Award.’

Title holder Matt Hawkins said: “I was so pleased to win the Entrepreneur of the Year Award.  Winning was such an honour and the night was fantastic and marked a real milestone for me. It created a moment where I actually stopped and took time to be proud of what C4L has achieved.”

Matt added: “After the champagne and plaudits, there really is a long-term significance to winning the award. It has definitely changed my working life for the better as in addition to being great publicity for C4L it’s brought new opportunities for me, such as mentoring others who are starting out where I did.”

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
  • What your growth ambitions and key business objectives are for the future

Dean Patton, professor of entrepreneurship, comments: “Bournemouth University is proud to be supporting the Entrepreneur of the Year Award, now in its seventh year.

“Through our support of the awards we are recognising that local businesses with a specific focus on growth and innovation will play a pivotal role in providing employment opportunities and supporting the future economic prosperity of this area.

“This award is designed to recognise exceptional individual talent or a company considered by the judges to be at the forefront of enterprise in the region”.

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 www.dorsetbusinessawards.co.uk or print off an entry form and submit a paper-based entry. The closing date for entry is Friday September 12. 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 on Thursday November 27 at the Bournemouth International Centre, 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.