EY names Jo Horgan as Australian Entrepreneur of the Year

01 November 2018 Consultancy.com.au 4 min. read
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Global accounting and consulting firm Ernst & Young last night announced that MECCA Brands’ founder Jo Horgan has won the coveted Entrepreneur of the Year award. 

Jo Horgan built the MECCA empire in two decades from a cosmetic shop in South Yarra, Melbourne to a nationally recognised brand with nearly a hundred stores across Australia and New Zealand. Embracing the introduction of the digital marketplace throughout MECCA Brands’ tenure, the company now controls over 25% of the Australian beauty retail market.

MECCA Brands’ elevation to the forefront of the industry, through multiple disruptions with Horgan at the helm, has earned her national recognition. The win was not only significant in terms of entrepreneurship butalso marks the first female Entrepreneur of the Year in Australia. “I didn’t know if I was going to [be] the first one, but I’m the woman who was going to give it a red hot go,” Horgan said. 

“There were two motivators for me. The first was the Mecca team, and the second was that so that women entrepreneurs all around Australia can see it is possible to get to the absolute pinnacle of their industries and get recognised for it,” she said. “It gives me confidence that I’m on the right track, and every last piece of confidence is a gift.”

The award means that she will go on to represent Australia at the global Entrepreneur of the Year awards in Monaco. The event will take place in June next year and Horgan will be up against other national winners from over 60 countries around the globe. Only one Australian has ever won the award, back in 2015 when Manny Stul – the founder of Moose Toys – snapped up the award. 

EY Oceania Growth Markets Leader, Rob Dalton said of the win that, “Jo ticked all the boxes with our panel of independent judges. She was identified as having established not only a world class business, but also demonstrated that being entrepreneurial is not only for start-ups. The EOY awards are a celebration of the capacity of business leaders to be entrepreneurial every day.”

EY names Jo Horgan as Australian Entrepreneur of the Year

Beyond the national EOY winner, there were five other categories which drew fierce competition. These include; Emerging Entrepreneur which was won by Jordan O’Reilly of Hireup; Fintech Entrepreneur went to Jemma Green of Power Ledger; Services Entrepreneur went home with Grant Wilckens of Discovery Parks;Technology Entrepreneur was picked up by John-Paul Syriatowicz and Stephen Barker of Squiz, and; last but not least, Sam Prince was awarded the Social Entrepreneur award for his work with One Disease. 

“The EOY program is much more than a competition. It is a knowledge journey, helping businesses get off the ground and celebrating their growth and success through their entire lifecycle. EY’s Entrepreneur Of The Year program plays a significant part in embedding entrepreneurship into society,” said Dalton.

“The wisdom that participants gain, the mentoring they receive and the lifelong connections they make play a significant part in embedding entrepreneurship into society. I encourage all entrepreneurs to look into how they can engage with EY’s entrepreneurship programs.” 

Overall, together the entrepreneurs featured in the EOY awards this year have created over 13,000 jobs and have generated $6.5 billion in revenue. Each year they contribute a staggering amount of money in global economic activity and contribute to the health and wealth of Australians. “These exceptional people have demonstrated that through hard work, sheer determination and self-belief you can achieve your dreams,” said EY Oceania CEO and Managing Partner Tony Johnson.

Johnson congratulated Horgan on her achievement by saying, “EY is proud to support each of this year’s finalists who have taken challenges, and turned them into opportunities – with an unwavering focus on improved outcomes for their people, their products and services and their communities. Jo Horgan in particular embeds purpose and social impact into MECCA Brands’ DNA.”

Related: PatSnap CEO Jeffrey Tiong named EY Entrepreneur Of The Year for Singapore.