Richard Harpin, CEO of Homeserve Plc, is Ernst & Young ‘UK Overall Entrepreneur Of The Yea...


Richard Harpin, CEO of Homeserve Plc, has been named Ernst & Young ‘UK Overall Entrepreneur Of The Year'. At an awards ceremony at The Grosvenor House Hotel London this week, hosted by Joanna Lumley, Richard competed with 40 other business leaders from across the UK to claim the title.

Richard spotted an opportunity when writing a report on the provision of plumbing services and launched Homeserve, which offers home emergency insurance cover and domestic repair services across the UK – ‘the single point of contact for homeowners for anything that goes wrong in the home’.

Originally founded as a joint venture with South Staffordshire Water, Homeserve listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2004 and has a current market capitalisation of £1.3 billion. Based in the West Midlands, the company has an annual turnover of £555 million and operating profits of £91 million, up 29% on 2007. It has operations in Spain, France and the US, with aspirations of expanding into Germany, Italy and the Benelux countries.

Richard Hall, UK Entrepreneur Of The Year Leader and Partner at Ernst & Young said: “The judges described Richard as a ‘born entrepreneur’ who started his first business while at school. Impressively he has grown Homeserve from a glimmer in his eye – the big idea – to one of the UK’s top 200 listed businesses in under 15 years.

“Homeserve is an ‘immense business’ characterised by rapid growth, strong profitability, innovation and excellence in execution. The sky is the limit for this start-up to be a major global innovator.”

Other award recipients included: ‘Young Entrepreneur Of The Year’, Robert Small of Miniclip Limited, who has ‘taken his industry by storm’. The judges described Robert as ‘bursting at the seams with innovative ideas and energy’ and ‘a role model for young entrepreneurs to throw caution to the wind and just go for it.’ John Bird and Ian MacArthur from The Big Issue Company Limited were awarded Social Entrepreneur Of The Year, for ‘creating a product that generates revenues while providing self employment and dignity along with project re-investment for societal benefit’.

Harpin will now go on to compete on a global stage with more than 40 other country winners at Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur Of The Year awards in Monte Carlo in May 2009. He joins the UK Entrepreneur Of The Year hall of fame which includes: Lord Harris of Carpetright (2007); Tim Richards of Vue Cinemas (2006); Peter Cullum of Towergate Underwriting Group Ltd (2005); and Bill Gammell of Cairn Energy (2004).

Over the past 10 years EOY has seen well in excess of 2,000 business leaders from across the UK enter the programme and crown 83 winners nationally in a range of award categories from ‘Business Products Entrepreneur Of The Year’ to the more recently introduced category ‘Real Estate and Property Services Entrepreneur Of The Year.’


EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. With over 400 employees in our Cambridge and Luton offices, our teams provide a range of services to a variety of sectors, including manufacturing, life sciences, consumer products and retail, technology, real estate and construction, health, and the public sector. The broad array of companies across the East allows us to bring real, relevant and key insights to our clients.