Transferwise and Richard Branson

2015 UK Entrepreneur of the Year Winner Announced

In a testament to their hard work and dedication, TransferWise co-founders Taavet Hinrikus and Kristo Käärmann, were proclaimed winners of this year’s Ernst and Young UK Entrepreneur of the Year award.

TransferWise set out to shake up the online money transfer scene, with a goal of exposing just how much banks were charging for hidden fees to send money abroad. A blog page on the official website gives more insight into major banks and their exchange rates for transfers.

Kristo Käärmann discussed winning the award and the company’s dedication to their vision of cheaper international transfer. “It’s a great achievement by the whole team to win an EY Entrepreneur of the Year award. Right now we’re saving customers more than £22 million each month, but really we’re only at the beginning of our mission of making the world of finance a little fairer. Our goal is to bring low-cost, fast and fair international money transfers to everyone who needs to send money abroad.”

The award receives well over 10,000 global nominations every year, with the criteria made up of: innovation, strategic direction, entrepreneurial vision, financial performance, passion, and social impact. The EotY awards cover 145 cities in 60 countries, and is a great honor for any business to accept.

Dave Hales, a partner sponsor at the EotY awards, spoke of being massively impressed by the company’s idea of change within an industry. “They are a great example of the entrepreneurial spirit being shown by many new businesses that we are seeing in the UK. Their continued growth and success shows what UK entrepreneurs can and do achieve, and demonstrates why we must continue to encourage and support businesses like TransferWise.”

The London-based company are a huge inspiration to young entrepreneurs with a strong vision, by motivating forward-minded youth to not wait until the “right time” to start a business, but begin with enough capital and dive head first. Furthermore, 2015 is an encouraging time for any would-be entrepreneurs as the internet, aided by online store creators from companies such as 1&1, has made online selling much simpler and more user-friendly. For one, these sites mirror the hassle-free setup wizards found on today’s software, meaning that any budding entrepreneur with a tech aversion can still feel comfortable making an online store.

That said, entrepreneurship isn’t solely the notion of selling as much as possible, but seeking out flaws within an industry and implementing change for the better – just like TransferWise achieved with their aim of altering online transfers overseas.

In fact, the company is backed by renowned billionaire and entrepreneur Richard Branson, who recently shared his top 10 tips for success along with some pearls of wisdom: “Fun is one of the most important – and underrated – ingredients in any successful venture. If you’re not having fun, then it’s probably time to call it quits and try something else. If your staff are having fun and genuinely care about other people, they will enjoy their work more and do a better job. Find people who look for the best in others, praise rather than criticize, and love what they do.”

Branson’s tips in summary:

  1. Follow your dreams and just do it
  2. Make a positive difference and do some good
  3. Believe in your ideas and be the best
  4. Have fun and look after your team
  5. Don’t give up
  6. Make lots of lists and keep setting yourself new challenges
  7. Spend time with your family and learn to delegate
  8. Try turning off the TV and get out there and do things
  9. When people say bad things about you, just prove them wrong
  10. Do what you love and have a sofa in the kitchen

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