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The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2011 China Awards Program (EOY 2011 China), with the theme of "Achieving growth through innovation," formally opened for nominations on May 25.
Ernst & Young began the Entrepreneur of the Year awards in 1986. They are now administered through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 140 cities in 50 countries. The awards aim to honor outstanding entrepreneurs who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievements.
The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2011 China Awards Program, which recognizes the country's most influential innovators, formally opened for nominations on May 25. [By Ke Wang / China.org.cn]
Terence Ho, Strategic Growth Markets and IPO leader for Greater China of Ernst & Young, said China is an important "growth engine" for the global economy and his company is passionate about supporting entrepreneurs in China to become the "global leaders of tomorrow."
He also stressed that at the beginning of China's 12th Five-Year Plan, the government has been aware of "the importance of sustainable growth and innovation." A milder growth target, which focuses on improving the livelihoods of the people and conserving the environment, has been set.
"We see innovation as a spirit, an attitude and an enduring effort to inspire a generation and change the world for the better," Ho said. "That's why we have decided to have growth and innovation as the theme for this year."
To mark the launch of the awards program, Ernst & Young also issued a leadership paper called Connecting innovation to profit – Five key insights from the world's leading entrepreneurs.
Fang Fang, vice chairman of Asia Investment Banking and CEO of J.P. Morgan China, said growth and innovation are intimately linked. "Don't leave innovation out of strategy," he said.
Fang believed that innovation is the fuel that will power the fast-growing company on its journey to market leadership. But many businesses fail to set strategic priorities for innovation.
"Your power to innovate makes your company unique. So don't lose it," he said.
Fang suggests as the business grows, entrepreneurs need to keep the spirit of creativity alive. Bureaucratic thinking can "kill innovation in a blink." It's the leader's responsibility to foster a creative culture.
In his opinion, fast-growth companies should "balance blue sky and bottom line," which means they must connect creativity and profit.
"If you cannot turn your new ideas into products and services that contribute to the bottom line, your journey to the market leadership will slow or stop," Fang said. "You need the right balance between blue-sky thinking and making money."
For a long-term operation, Fang advises, entrepreneurs should focus on three aspects of innovation including business model, operation system and talent management.
Entrepreneurs are often brilliant at thinking up new products and services. "But to stay on your fast-growth path, you need to apply that same innovative zeal to how you run your business, not just what it does," he said.