Stephen Fitzpatrick named entrepreneur of the year
Stephen Fitzpatrick, CEO and Founder of challenger brand OVO Energy was last night (11th November) named The Smith & Williamson ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ at the National Business Awards UK held at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London.
Now entering its 13th year, the National Business Awards connect the nations’ business leaders through its annual ceremony and year-round thought leadership programme. The Smith & Williamson Entrepreneur of the Year recognises an enterprising individual that has achieved the highest and most sustained levels of growth and financial performance through a culture of innovation, market knowledge, and talent development.
Stephen Fitzpatrick fought off stiff competition from The Gym Group, ECO Plastics and Car Loan 4U. Judges were impressed with Stephen’s tenacity and belief in turning the energy market on its head; challenging industry incumbents, the Big Six, to create one of the fastest growing independent energy suppliers in the UK.
OVO Energy was launched by Stephen in 2009 with a simple idea – that he could do a better job of supplying energy to UK customers than existing energy companies. Despite little experience and being told “it couldn’t be done”, Stephen has led the company to become an established consumer champion and innovator in the sector. His approach has been to build the business around customers, developing OVO as a great retail brand first, a technology company second and only as a distant third, a utility.
OVO has been determined, despite almost tripling in size in the last 12 months, not to lose its number one focus on delivering top class customer service. The company recently topped MoneySavingExpert’s customer service rankings as well as placing first for overall satisfaction in the Energy Helpline Customer Satisfaction Awards.
Stephen Fitzpatrick comments:
“It’s a huge honour to win this award, but it’s definitely been a team effort from the 600 top calibre people who work tirelessly every day to make sure OVO continues to live by the values we created back in 2009, when it was just five of us around a kitchen table.
We’ve experienced incredible growth over the last twelve months, but building a great company is what really motivates me, more than profits or growth. We’ve earned trust by building our business around what’s best for the customer, making every decision as if they were in the room with us. That’s always going to be our primary focus.”
The National Business Awards judges said:
“Stephen Fitzpatrick's OVO Energy is a beacon of hope for consumers in an industry dominated by behemoths. Judges praised Stephen for not only having the courage to start a business in this space but to do it so professionally and successfully. We agreed that this is the stuff great entrepreneurs are made of.”
Guy Rigby, Head of Entrepreneurs at Smith & Williamson, said:
“This award is hugely well deserved. There aren’t many entrepreneurs who would choose to enter such a well-established, highly regulated industry in the face of so many dominant market players. An outstanding achievement in a strong category, where so many other entrepreneurs also deserve recognition.”
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About OVO Energy
Headquartered in Bristol, OVO Energy is one of the leading independent suppliers in the UK retail market. Since it entered the market in 2009, it’s grown to 400,000 customers (720,000 customer accounts), created over 600 jobs and is currently recruiting for over 120 more.
OVO’s guiding principles are simplicity, transparency and fairness in all of its operations: make the energy industry easier for consumers to understand and make sure prices reflect the actual cost of doing business so customers know they’re getting a good deal.