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The Entrepreneurial Exchange

Three Nominated For Business Prize

Shortlist for entrepreneur of the year award is revealed

The nominees for the entrepreneur of the year title have been announced.

After a record number of entries, Michael Tracey, of William Tracey Group, Amor Group's John Innes and Goals managing director Keith Rogers were selected to face the judging panel.

They will find out who will win the award and succeed beCogent's Dermot Jenkinson at the Entrepreneurial Exchange annual dinner in Glasgow on Thursday November 25.

Tracey joined the family waste management and recycling businesses straight from school at the age of 16.

For the last decade he has run the company and it now operates from 11 sites across Scotland and the north of England.

In 2006, Dublin-based publicly listed support services operator DCC acquired 50 per cent of the group.

Earlier this year, Tracey formed a new holding company - DCC Environmental Britain which contains all of DCC's environmental division for the UK.

As well as running this business and William Tracey Group, he is a contributor to major industry initiatives and working panels such as the 2020 climate change delivery group.

Jim Boyle, partner in charge of entrepreneurial business at awards sponsor Deloitte, led the interview team and was on the judging panel.

He said: "Michael is an impressive and engaging character who in spite of the achievements by himself and his company is very under-stated and unassuming.

"It is evident Michael has his finger on the pulse and the way in which the company has reshaped itself over the years is hugely impressive."

Rogers had already built and sold the Pitz five-a-side football business when he decided to start all over again.

A buy-in to an existing facility in Glasgow gave Goals a start and it now has almost 40 sites in the UK.

The launch of a centre in Los Angeles earlier this year has been a huge success with a dozen more sites in the pipeline in the US.

Joint ventures in South Africa and Dublin are also under way with six UK sites on course to open in 2011.

Boyle said: "It is clear even from some of his early business ventures that Keith ticks all of the boxes in entrepreneurship and innovation and the Goals success story is clear for all to see. Keith is exceptionally driven and continues to be hugely ambitious.

"We were struck by how he has completely professionalised and revolutionised the offering and with the growth and high levels of repeat business, it is clear that the formula works.

"Not content with building, growing and then selling the Pitz business, Keith has now gone on to create an even more impressive, more prominent and more profitable operation over the last 10 years."

Innes initially worked in the music and leisure sector but for the past two decades has been involved in growing businesses in oil and gas and IT.

A complicated management buy out he led to take two Scottish-based businesses out of French ownership in 2009 created Amor Group.

Since then the business has seen turnover increase to more than £30 million. In 2010 it has added more than 100 jobs, opened two new offices and completed three acquisitions.

Innes is on record as wanting to double the size of the company by 2012.

Boyle said: "John is an engaging and passionate individual and his rich and varied experience over the last 35 years means he has a unique perspective and view on things.

"Against a backdrop of companies keeping their heads down and their plans close to their chest, John's bullish and open approach is refreshing."

John Anderson, chief executive of the Entrepreneurial Exchange, added: "The standard of this year's candidates for Entrepreneur of theYear is truly fantastic.

They have really set the bar in their respective industries for what is the measure of a successful business.

"Through dedication and hard work, John, Michael and Keith have shown a real sense of drive and determination which can be held up as an example to others in the business community. All three of them are beacons that future entrepreneurs will look to."

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