Octopus founders Simon Rogerson and Chris Hulatt scooped two prestigious awards at EY’s UK awards ceremony.
They were named overall winner of the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year UK 2017. The awards celebrate fast-growth companies that are led with a desire to make a difference in the world and to people’s lives, which aligns with EY’s own purpose – Building a Better Working World. They demonstrate the importance, and also the power of the global entrepreneurial community in making change happen.
Simon and Chris will now represent the UK to compete against other nations at EY’s World Entrepreneur of the Year Forum in Monaco next June.
While still on a graduate training programme 17 years ago, Chris and Simon (aged 23 and 25 respectively) set up Octopus in 2000 with, in their words, “no money and no experience.” They describe how almost everyone believed they would fail, but their passion and “terminator gene” saw them through. They raised funds for the company when they had no products, no customers and no office.
Joanna Santinon, UK Entrepreneur Of The Year Programme Leader, said: “In true entrepreneurial style, Chris and Simon started Octopus from scratch and have scaled it to a business of significant size.
“Right from the outset their man driver was to do things better and breathe new life into industries, which serve some of society’s most important needs. They have built highly disruptive, customer obsessed businesses with real purpose at their core.
“It’s the type of business we are increasingly seeing come through our programme year-on-year. Fast-growth companies that are led with a desire to make a difference in the world and to people’s lives, which aligns with EY’s own purpose – Building a Better Working World. It demonstrates the importance, and also the power of the global entrepreneurial community in making change happen.”
Master Entrepreneur Of The Year
The EY judging panel also awarded Simon and Chris a second award: Master Entrepreneur Of The Year, which acknowledged their accomplishments over the last 17 years. The panel of prominent business figures, described Octopus as a “role model business of our time”.
Simon commented: “Putting our customers at the heart of everything we do has been the driving force behind Octopus since we founded it 17 years ago. We set up Octopus because we wanted to make a real difference to people’s lives in industries that affect their everyday life – whether its financial services, healthcare or energy and protecting our planet. We have never wavered from that mission. We want to be a brand people feel so strongly about that they will recommend us to friends and family. To us that is the ultimate success and how to realise our ambition of being in every home in the UK.”
Chris said: “We have worked hard to build Octopus and are extremely proud of the impact we are having on the industries we have entered. We now have more than 550 people working tirelessly to help us create better outcomes for our customers and change the way energy, healthcare and financial services are provided in the UK. Our values remain the same as they did on the day we started. We are honoured to receive this award, not just for us as founders but in acknowledgement of the talent and hard of all our employees over the years that have enabled us to grow the business so quickly and make a difference to more and more customers.”