How entrepreneurs are fueling the global economy

Mark Weinberger,

Global Chairman & CEO, EY

More about the author

As Global Chairman & CEO of EY, Mark leads some 230,000 people in more than 150 countries. EY is one of the largest and fastest growing professional services organizations in the world and is dedicated to building a better working world. Mark regularly speaks on globalization, issues affecting business and the importance of diversity.

In today’s fast changing world, where a single great idea can overturn an industry overnight, entrepreneurs are key to driving growth, innovation and job creation

Every year in late May, Formula One racers speed through the streets and tunnels of Monaco vying to win the famous Grand Prix. This time, some of those sports cars might be taking advantage of an innovation devised by entrepreneur Patrick Hessel, who will himself compete a few weeks later in Monaco in a very different contest: the competition for the coveted title of EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year™.

Hessel is the founder and CEO of c2i s.r.o., which makes carbon fiber components for the motorsport industry. When the company first started out, c2i struggled. The big car companies like Porsche and Jaguar didn’t want to risk using parts from a start-up. So in 2012, Hessel risked everything and worked on creating an innovative, new product that no car company would be able to ignore. His team developed a technology that allowed them to make a complex component from just a single piece of carbon fiber – making his material far stronger than any established competitor’s.

In the fast-paced, hypercompetitive world of automotive, that innovation made all the difference. Soon, Porsche, Jaguar, Bentley, and Koenigsegg were all c2i clients. Even aerospace companies came knocking at his door. With a track record like this, it’s no surprise that Hessel won the EY  Entrepreneur Of The Year 2016 Award in the Slovak Republic.

It’s an exciting time for Hessel and entrepreneurs like him all around the world. As he vividly demonstrated, in a fast-changing world, a single great idea can overturn an industry overnight. New businesses can grow faster than ever. And, more than ever, entrepreneurs are essential to the global economy. There are three key reasons why.

  1. Entrepreneurs are creating jobs at more than twice the rate of established companies. In a new EY survey, 59% of entrepreneurs around the world expect to increase their workforce in 2016. That’s up a quarter on last year, which means that entrepreneurs are actually increasing the rate at which they’re hiring right now. Among large businesses, on the other hand, only 28% plan to expand their workforce this year.
  2. Entrepreneurs drive innovation – often much more quickly than established competitors. Think of Patrick Hessel’s story: successful entrepreneurs, by definition, have figured out a way to do things better. They’ve challenged the status quo, asked tough questions and competed with established businesses. When an entirely new industry is created – or an old one is disrupted – odds are that an entrepreneur is responsible.
  3. When entrepreneurs are able innovate like this, they drive economic growth and create jobs at an even faster rate. When we surveyed innovative entrepreneurs – those who created an entirely new product or service in the past year – they were 95% more likely to increase their workforce over the next year, compared to those who aren’t as committed to innovation. The most disruptive entrepreneurs – those who say they “changed all or many of the rules” in their industry – are hiring almost as quickly. Right now they are 58% more likely than conventional competitors to increase their workforce in the next year. 
EY - Racing cars competing

These numbers didn’t surprise us. They just confirmed what we’ve known for more than a century. Around the world, we’re proud to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses and achieve their goals. That’s why we’re holding the 16th annual EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Award in Monaco, to recognize the vital role they play in the global economy.

At this event, Entrepreneur Of The Year winners from 50 countries compete for the top title of EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year. Every one of them has created an impressive business, so it’s not easy for our independent judging panel to select a winner. But in recognition of just how much impact the best entrepreneurs can have on the world, the panel relies on six key criteria to guide the decision, including entrepreneurial spirit, global (or community) impact, financial performance and strategic direction.  

Ultimately, however, this week isn’t just about picking a winner. It’s a chance to celebrate the success of so many businesspeople, share disruptive ideas and plan for the future. In an uncertain world, meetings like these are more important than ever. If we want economic growth, innovation and job creation, that conversation starts with entrepreneurs.


EY’s World Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2016 Forum runs from 7-11 June 2016. Follow the conversations on #weoy


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