Daisy CEO Matthew Riley has been named Young Entrepreneur of the Year for the Northern region by Ernst & Young at a ceremony at the Manchester Hilton this week.
The 33-year-old was pitted against some well-known names in business from the north of England, and the award is recognition of a career in industry that has now spanned 17 years.
Established in 2001, Daisy is the fourth company to be set up by the serial entrepreneur, who made his first profit at the age of 11 clearing snow covered paths on his street.
Riley always had an ambition to set up a business in his home town of Nelson, and in just under six years Daisy has grown from just three employees working from his home, to be one of the UK’s leading communications providers for business.
“I’m overwhelmed to have won this award,” said Riley. “This is recognition for the whole company, not just for me, and it comes off the back of six years of hard work from all Daisy staff. I’d always dreamt of running a market-leading company that set a benchmark to others. After working in the communications industry for more than 17 years, it really is fantastic to win an award that is held in such high regard. It’s an absolute dream come true.”
The Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award recognises those individuals aged 35 or under who are primarily responsible for the growth of a business. Riley faced competition from the chief executive of the Yorkshire-based Flamingo Land theme park, the managing director of a Yorkshire-base catering firm Dine Catering and the chief executive of a Manchester-based mobile company Eazyfone.
Jan Gregory, Ernst & Young’s Manchester senior partner, said: “The judges described Matthew as a serial entrepreneur at only 33. He has a real passion about what he is doing, has exploited a niche market with focused strategy and a strong proposition.”
Riley identified a gap in the market for independent fixed line service providers selling communications solutions to small-medium enterprises in the UK, using technology obtained from BT Wholesale after deregulation. And Daisy now boasts more than 120 staff, operates from 20,000sq ft state of the art offices, and has achieved revenues of £23.3 million for the year ending March 2007.
The company provides an extensive portfolio of communications solutions to UK business customers including fixed and mobile voice, line rental and new line installation, standard and specialist non-geographic numbers, broadband services and mobile data solutions. It now has more than 20,000 customers, from sole traders to UK wide corporate accounts, and with no direct sales force the company provides a one-stop-shop for communications with an emphasis on high quality customer service and online billing.