EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2021 Estonia launches

The nomination period for EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2021 Estonia is now open. The program was introduced in Estonia 13 years ago and has since become the highest-regarded private sector award for Estonian entrepreneurs. Detailed information on this year’s program is available here. Nominate yourself or recommend another outstanding entrepreneur. EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2020 Estonia was Kaarel Kotkas, founder of the global identity verification service company Veriff. The 2021 winner will be announced on 11 March and will go on to represent Estonia at the World Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards.

„The competition was good publicity for Veriff both in Estonia and abroad,“ said Kaarel Kotkas. „We had the chance to analyze our business processes, find new perspectives on what we do here and introduce ourselves to the public. l do believe this helped to improve people’s understanding of the remote identity verification environment we all operate in and that they are now more aware of the security aspects involved. The past six months have been a time of true digital sprint in our business sector and each recognition inspires us to strive further,” he added.

„The winner is always the best of those who participate,“ Reet Roos, one of the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Program judges, declared. „EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Estonia has always brought together the very best of Estonian entrepreneurs – some as participants, others just showing their support to their favorite nominees. Our ambitions are not limited to a single sector or bound by state borders. Of course we want to conquer the world and be the best not only in Estonia, but on the international scale. Many of our participants and winners have managed to achieve this. If you are not looking for a miracle, you are unlikely to see one. We are always on the lookout.“

EY Partner Ranno Tingas said that entrepreneurs in Estonia and other countries have had to respond to enormous challenges in the past six months. „This means that recognizing those who manage to create long-term value regardless of these global disruptions is now more important than ever before,“ Ranno Tingas explained. „EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Estonia aims to identify entrepreneurs with grit, persistence and a sense of ambition who create long-term value beyond simple profits.”

„You’ll never know the true strength of a ship, unless you take her through a storm,“ said Ranno Tingas. „The turbulent times in world economy have proven to be a challenge as well as an opportunity for our entrepreneurs. We would like to thank and recognize all Estonian entrepreneurs who have managed to weather this storm against all odds. Winners are the ones who are left after the clouds have parted. This is rarely an easy task, but positive role models give others the strength they need to continue fighting for survival.“

The competition is open to all business owners whose Estonian company has been operational for at least 3 years, employs at least 10 people and posted a turnover exceeding €2 million in the last financial year.

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2020 Estonia was Kaarel Kotkas, the founder of Veriff OÜ, a start-up developing AI-based identity verification software. The Lifetime Achievement Award laureate was Illimar Toom, praised by the panel of judges for both his entrepreneurial spirit and his invaluable contribution to developing the local community.

Previous winners:

  • 2020 – Kaarel Kotkas (Veriff OÜ)
  • 2019 – Tõnis Kaasik (Ecometal AS)
  • 2018 – Martin and Markus Villig (Bolt)
  • 2017 – Arno Kütt and Peep Kuld (Cleveron AS)
  • 2015 – Jevgeni Kabanov (ZeroTurnaround AS)
  • 2014 – Jüri Raidla (Ellex Raidla Advokaadibüroo OÜ)
  • 2013 – Peeter and Priit Rebane (BDG Holdings OÜ)
  • 2012 – Ruth Oltjer (Chemi-Pharm AS)
  • 2011 – Priit Alamäe and Taavi Kotka (Nortal AS)
  • 2010 – Peter Hunt (Wendre AS)
  • 2009 – Indrek Sepp (Pristis AS)
  • 2008 – Jaan Puusaag (Krimelte OÜ)

The candidates will be interviewed and judged by an independent judging panel comprising individuals living and breathing business on a daily basis. Members of the judging panel for EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2021 Estonia include Aavo Kokk (US Real Estate), Kaidi Ruusalepp (Funderbeam OÜ), Marika Priske (Ministry of Social Affairs), Meelis Atonen (Tavid AS), Reet Roos (Inspired Universal McCann OÜ), Viljar Arakas (EFTEN Capital AS) and Kaarel Kotkas (Veriff OÜ, EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2020 Estonia). EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Estonia is organized in cooperation with Lexus, LHV, Creditinfo and Postimees Grupp.

Application deadline: 31.10.2020