Prize winning entrepreneurs

Once again the world's best entrepreneurs gathered in Monaco at the weekend.

Every year, national winners of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year competition meet in Monte Carlo to find out who is judged to be the world's best entrepreneur. This year Chinese businessman Cao Dewang was announced as winner at a press conference in the Sporting d'Hiver on Saturday night.

At its inception in 1986, the Ernst & Young competition was only open to Americans but was expanded in 2001 to include other countries. That year, the first World Entrepreneur of the Year Award was won by Italian Paolo della Porta of Saes Getters. Consequent winners have come from Germany, India, Philippines, USA, S Africa, Canada and Switzerland.

The award is a way of recognizing successful entrepreneurs and the contribution they make to economic growth in their home countries, also establishing them as role models. In order to get to the final in Monaco, winners will already have competed for regional and national awards. Over 3 days, the judges, many of whom are past winners themselves, study each contestant's profile, measuring them against 6 criteria: entrepreneurial spirit, financial performance, strategic direction, innovation, global impact and personal integrity/influence.

2009's winner, Cao Dewang, is Chairman of the Fuyao Glass Industry Group which makes windscreens for cars and commands more than 50% market share in China. His transformation from farmer to successful entrepreneur has also allowed him to become a generous philanthropist who last year donated over 15 million euros to organizations involved in earthquake relief and education for poor students.