To Judge or Be Judged?


Following her recent win at Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, in our latest guest blog, our CEO, Dr Dawn Cranswick, contemplates the question: to judge or be judged?

Last week I was hugely privileged to join the other UK Finalists at the 2017 EY Entrepreneur of the Year Judging Day in London. All entrepreneurs attending the UK Final have progressed through the Regional Awards process, and we were all attending as Winners.

The 30 Finalists are running a wide range of different organisations; some large, some small, some quite young businesses, some that have been around a very long time. A mix of sectors, social entrepreneurs alongside thought leaders, professionals and serial entrepreneurs; an inspiring mix of passionate, driven individuals focused on building their organisations and making them as strong as possible.

Opportunities to network with such a fantastic group of people are rare, and I think most of us worked hard to maximise that chance; certainly, I have over a dozen people I’m following up with.

If the entrepreneurs were inspiring, the Expert Judges were awe-inspiring!

‘My’ personal Judges were Alan Aubrey of IP Group, Richard Steeves of Golconda Investments, and Jenny Campbell (yes, from Dragon’s Den!) – all three entrepreneurs and investors – and each of them provided me with a lesson, in one form or another, whether it was a question on something that I hadn’t considered, or by sharing something I hadn’t come across before; the interviews were incredibly useful.

The EY team looked after us very well, making sure every entrepreneur was exactly where they needed to be at the right time, and providing additional insights via roundtable sessions on IPO and Equity Investments.  It was also great to have ‘home’ support from the EY Newcastle office with Craig Cumpson and Amanda Gray attending.

Aside from the Judging interviews, the networking and the roundtables, each entrepreneur was interviewed on film; one of the questions posed for the film interview was why I had entered the awards – my reasons were three-fold; firstly, for the amazing networking opportunities; secondly as personal development (the chance to be tested against your peers); and finally, because here at PNE Group we manage Award programmes for some very large businesses, and the opportunity to sit on the other side of the table – to know what it feels like to be judged by an expert.

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