Top Entrepreneurs To Look Out For In 2020
We take a look at the top entrepreneurs that you should keep an eye on this year.
- Gary Vaynerchuck - Gary Vaynerchuk is the chairman of VaynerX, a modern-day media and communications holding company and the active CEO of VaynerMedia, a full-service advertising agency servicing Fortune 100 clients across the company’s 4 locations. In addition to VaynerMedia, VaynerX also includes Gallery Media Group, which houses women’s lifestyle brand PureWow and men’s lifestyle brand ONE37pm. In addition to running VaynerMedia, Gary also serves as a partner in the athlete representation agency VaynerSports, cannabis-focused branding and marketing agency Green Street and restaurant reservations app Resy.
Gary and his family immigrated to the US from Belarus in 1978. He lived with 8 family members in a studio apartment in Queens, New York, before relocating to Edison, New Jersey. Gary often calls himself a “purebred entrepreneur” having successfully started a lemonade franchise at age 7! When he was just fresh out of college, Gary grew his family wine business from $3M to $60M in sales. Find out more about Gary here.
- Lewis Ellis - Lewis Ellis is the co-founder and director of Hidden Travel, a company specialising in providing stylish getaways for young and inspired individuals. Lewis describes himself as "The type of person who likes to get the job done. I’m a fixer, a doer, and love a challenge." In addition, Lewis starred in the 2019 season of ‘The Apprentice’ and made it to the semi-final, the episode when candidates get grueled and have their business plans picked apart by Lord Sugar's advisors.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the agency that Lewis was working for has had to shut its doors, meaning Lewis is now open to new opportunities in marketing, connect with him here.
3. Jack Parsons - Jack Parsons is an ambassador for young people who lack formal qualifications and feel let down by the system, his mission is to improve the odds for young people. Jack seeks to help them secure placements, apprenticeships, mentors and employment. He founded The Youth Group in 2017 after his experience of a difficult childhood and being neglected by teachers. He passed his GCSEs with flying colours and - despite being encouraged to pursue construction - secured an apprenticeship with an insurance broker.
"You have to be present in everything you do. Over 500 things will come flying your way at one given time. You may feel overwhelmed, feel like you want to stop, that you no longer want to be an entrepreneur, so this is why it’s so important to be present in the moment and in the task that you’re completing."
4. Rose Dyson - Rose is the founder of the cosmetics brand ‘Pura Cosmetics’ which she started when she was only 15 years old. She worked tirelessly around the clock developing new products, making each and every customer order in mass volumes, trading across the country and everything in between whilst managing to fit in her college studies.
Recently, Rose launched a “Buy one, give one” scheme, so for every purchase made on either her Amazon store or online store, she will be donating a lip care product to an NHS healthcare professional, starting at her local hospital Barnsley Hospital.
5. Akshay Rupaleria - Akshay founded his company, Doorsteps.com, from his bedroom at only 17 and sold his first house during the middle of his exams when he was 18. Instead of the 2-3% commission that most property agents apply to a sale, Doorsteps.com charges just £99 which sets them apart from other companies in the rapidly growing industry. Ruparelia says that his experience with estate agencies at the young age of 11 exposed him to the “real workload of estate agencies and the service offered.”
6. Dev Garg - Dev started his business, EasyAnalytic, with nothing but £400K in debt and a vision. EasyAnalytic is a leading consulting firm that works with startups to unlock their potential, by helping them innovate, develop and launch their products using immersive consulting. Dev is also the founder and CEO of EDHERO, a startup that aspires to provide educators with a platform which they can use to build a digital profile and presence using all the latest tools and techniques while simultaneously offering their services to organizations without having to learn any marketing tactics.
7. Jocelyn Leavitt - Jocelyn created Hopscotch in 2013, as a mobile gaming platform for 8-14 year olds that lets kids learn programming skills while creating and playing their own mobile games. The innovative technology business introduced the first-ever mobile-first programming language and provides a platform for users to publish their games and follow the creations of others.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.