Business mogul Nazzareno Vassallo has been named EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year, the company announced on Monday. 

Vassallo, who chairs the Vassallo Group, is involved in several sectors in the local market that include property and construction, furniture and interiors, elderly and disability, catering, hospitality, architecture and education. The group employs over 1,700 people. 

John Winfield, founder and managing director of Dr Juice, took home the prize of EY’s Rising Star, an award given to entrepreneurs who have created relatively new businesses that are showing great potential. 

EY has been holding the Entrepreneur of the Year awards globally for over three decades. Now found in more than 60 countries, they include a global network of 50,000 entrepreneurs and are the global benchmark for capturing today’s and tomorrow’s entrepreneurial spirit. 

Dr Juice CEO and founder John Winfield. Photo: Nat Photography/FacebookDr Juice CEO and founder John Winfield. Photo: Nat Photography/Facebook

Vassallo succeeds Hotjar’s David Darmanin, who was named EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2019, while Winfield follows Ben Remfrey of Praedium Consulting Malta Ltd.

The Maltese award is adjudicated by an independent panel made up of key figures from the business community. This year’s panel included Malta Chamber then-president David Xuereb, Malta Chamber of SMEs president Paul Abela, HSBC director Sue Vella, Bank of Valletta CEO Rick Hunkin, Atlas Insurance managing director Catherine Calleja and David Darmain, CEO and founder of Hotjar and last year’s award winner. 

The Malta award promotes entrepreneurship across the Maltese islands and empowers entrepreneurs to grow their businesses both locally and globally. Apart from 2019’s win by David Darmanin of Hotjar, previous winners include Mr. Alfred Pisani (Corinthia Group) in 2017 and Mr. Angelo Xuereb (AX Holdings) in 2018.                                                   

Ronald Attard, EY Malta’s country managing partner, described Vassallo as a "seasoned entrepreneur whose long-term vision and perseverance has undoubtedly served as inspiration to many."

Winfield's Dr Juice, he added, "is a captivating success story on how to promote a healthy lifestyle.

"As the road to recovery commences after the immediate impact of COVID-19, I am certain inspirational Maltese entrepreneurs will be a driving force in the process," Attard said. 

Malcolm Briffa, Melita Ltd’s director of business services, said the company's support of the Rising Star Award "recognises the hard work and talent needed to create and grow a nascent business, bringing the individuals and their businesses to the fore, not only to be recognised by their peers but also to serve as a motivation for us all.”   

The awards are supported by Melita Ltd., the Malta Chamber of Commerce and the Malta Chamber of SME’s. 

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