Chemist Warehouse chairman Jack Gance named top entrepreneur

17 April 2023 2 min. read
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Ernst & Young has selected the next Australian representative of its global Entrepreneur of The Year program, with Chemist Warehouse co-founder and chairman Jack Gance claiming the local title.

Chemist Warehouse co-founder and chairman Jack Gance has been named this year’s Australian EY Entrepreneur of The Year winner, taking out the title ahead of six other finalists including Brooks Hire CEO Doug Brooks, who took home the People’s Choice Award.

Opening his first pharmacy in 1972, Gance would go on to revolutionise the local market via Chemist Warehouse, Australia’s largest pharmacy franchise retailer.

Chemist Warehouse chairman Jack Gance named top entrepreneur

“Jack is a disruptive pioneer,” said Justin Howse, EY’s program leader for the Entrepreneur of The Year competition in Australia.

“His drive to provide Australians with access to affordable, discounted prescriptions are evident throughout his career and his presentation. Jack had a vision for the future of Australian pharmacies, and brought this vision to life through passion, persistence, drive, and dedication. His humble approach continues to propel the industry forward on an exponential scale.”

Launched in 2000 on the back of Gance’s My Chemist success – having earlier established and sold iconic 80s sunglasses and lotion brands Le Specs and Le Tan locally – the Chemist Warehouse group today consists of roughly 350 stores and, according to some estimates, a 50 percent and still growing market share. Such enormous buying power has effectively allowed Chemist Warehouse to price smaller competitors out of the market.

“Under Jack's leadership, the Chemist Warehouse team has delivered excellence in merchandising, continual innovation with their evolving pharmacy and retail business model, and provided outstanding value to millions of households across Australia by helping to make health care affordable,” said judges chair Glen Richards. “Jack is an iconic and serial entrepreneur whom we are proud to put on the world stage of entrepreneurship.”

That stage is the global Entrepreneur of The Year final held in Monaco in June, where Gance will compete against representatives from dozens of countries in an effort to emulate Australia’s sole past global winner, Moose Toys chief executive Manny Stul. Last year’s crown was claimed by Argentinian Gaston Taratuta, founder of digital advertising company Aleph, ahead of contenders including Australian title-winner Linda Brown of Torrens University.

A number of other entrepreneurs were also recognised alongside Gance, including People’s Choice Award winner Doug Brooks of Brooks Hire and TABOO managing director and co-founder Eloise Hall, who was named this year’s Impact Award winner.

Established in 2017, TABOO is a social enterprise which sells high-quality period products, with profits going towards eliminating period poverty both in Australia and around the world.