Entrepreneurs impact all aspects of society. If it doesn’t exist, they will build it. If there is no plan, they create one. Where others fear the challenges of disruption, they seize the upside. They not only have great ideas, but also the drive to make them a reality. They use their fresh thinking, perseverance and hard work to create positive social change, bringing new concepts and products to market and creating jobs and wealth. They inspire innovation without limitation and fuel prosperity by being unstoppable. These are the world’s greatest entrepreneurs.

They exist the world over, but you might be astonished to discover the impressive amount our small island has produced and the almost immeasurable impact they have had. Moreover, being an entrepreneur is challenging enough as it is, adding Malta’s limited market size does not make things any easier. Nevertheless, the rise of the digital economy has brought the world’s markets to our doorstep and truly driven entrepreneurs always find a way.

Many local entrepreneurial stories are yet to be uncovered, shared and even celebrated on a national level. Just four years ago, EY launched the EY Malta Entrepreneur of the Year award – the only local award with a truly global dimension, which sees the winner travel to Monaco to compete with over 50 entrepreneurial powerhouses from all over the planet, as they compete for the title of the EY World Entrepreneur of the Year.

Where others fear the challenges of disruption, they seize the upside

The event is a spectacular affair, but its culmination is not the only reason we set up the award. It was launched to promote entrepreneurship across the Maltese islands and to empower entrepreneurs to grow their businesses both locally and around the world. They get the chance to meet inspiring game-changers who are disrupting industries, discover how they are leading in uncertain times and develop innovative ideas to expand their business.

Their journeys may be immeasurably different, but entrepreneurs have one thing in common: they don’t get distracted by short-term pressures. Instead, they have a long-term strategic vision, and then they follow through.

Take EY Malta Entrepreneur of the Year 2019 David Darmanin of Hotjar. Just five years ago his now very successful company was a start-up with very few employees and some radical ideas.

Today, they employ over 75 people, many of whom work remotely from different corners of the world, and their online behaviour analytics tool is trusted by over 385,000 organisations across 184 countries. The 2017 and 2018 winners certainly need no introduction. Alfred Pisani of Corinthia Group and Angelo Xuereb of AX Holdings Ltd are both widely recognised for their success in the hospitality and construction sectors

The award programme is open for ambitious young entrepreneurs too. The EY Rising Star Award, which in the past was awarded to David Vella of Altaro Software, Shane Hunter of AquaBioTech Group and Ben Remfrey of Praedium Consulting Malta Ltd, will be presented to a contender running a high-growth business that is generating excitement in the market. 

The best entrepreneurs are long-term thinkers, so it’s no surprise they are helping lead us into the future. In a world of short-term pressures, 24-hour news cycles, uncertain geopolitics and disruptive technology, entrepreneurs offer important lessons for us all. 

But they also deserve to be recognised for their hard work, struggles and incredible achievements. Who knows? Maybe, their stories will inspire the next generation of talented Maltese entrepreneurs that will help strengthen the economic future for us all. The nominations for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year award are now open and the award will be judged by an independent panel made up of key figures from the business community. The awards are supported by the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry, GRTU and Melita Ltd.

For more information or to submit a nomination one may go to www.eoymalta.com.

Kevin Mallia is an EY Advisory Partner and EY Entrepreneur of the Year Programme Lead.