CEO of Cambridge-based CMR Surgical wins ‘Disruptor’ award at the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2019 UK final

Martin Frost, CEO of Cambridge-based CMR Surgical, was named ‘Disruptor’ winner at the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2019 UK awards

Martin Frost, CEO of Cambridge-based CMR Surgical, was named ‘Disruptor’ winner at the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2019 UK awards last night in London.

CMR Surgical is a high-growth medical devices company which develops robotic devices for minimal access surgery. The next-generation surgical robotic systems improve the recovery time for patients and achieve long-term cost savings.

Frost took home the ‘Disruptor’ award and was commended by the judges for ‘the creation of his ‘Versius’ robot, which has the potential to transform the surgical industry’. The judges were particularly impressed that Martin developed his device to the point where CMR Surgical was able to sell it to hospitals in five and a half years – an incredibly short amount of time for the industry.

Stuart Wilkinson, Partner and East Entrepreneur Of The Year Leader at EY, said: “Congratulations to Martin for being recognised at the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2019 UK awards last night, where he was up against some of the UK’s most inspirational entrepreneurs. Martin truly epitomises what we see across the East of England, with more and more of our region’s successful entrepreneurs building successful businesses with a real focus on profits with purpose.

“CMR Surgical’s technology has the potential to revolutionise surgery procedures for many patients, and it’s fantastic to hear the business has now reached ‘unicorn status’. In the East we have an enviable entrepreneurial community and businesses such as CMR Surgical create jobs, generate wealth and contribute to the continued economic growth of our region.” 

Overall UK winner

Steven Jackson OBE DL, Founder of Recycling Lives, the commercial metal and waste recycling business, was crowned ‘EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2019 overall winner. Jackson also took home the ‘Societal Impact’ category award and will go on to represent the UK at EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year™ in Monaco next year. 

Based on a unique model combining business and charity, Recycling Lives uses commercial waste management solutions (which include collecting, processing and recycling all waste such as scrap metal, scrap cars, plastics, paper and cardboard), to support charity programmes.

Each of Recycling Lives’ 12 sites have social enterprise and charity initiatives covering three core programmes; tackling food poverty and reducing food waste by redistributing surplus food to community groups; reducing reoffending by rehabilitating offenders in prison; and tackling homelessness through a residential programme.

Special Award – EY Lifetime Achievement Award

Workplace revolutionary and successful IT entrepreneur turned ardent philanthropist Dame Stephanie Shirley CH was also honoured at the event, receiving the ‘EY Lifetime Achievement Award’.

Shirley founded a business from her kitchen table at the age of 29 in 1962, which at its height was valued at £1.2bn. Shirley’s focus on philanthropy saw her serve as the UK’s first ever national Ambassador for Philanthropy in 2009/10, and initiating and funding projects via her charity, the Shirley Foundation.

Full list of winners:

In total seven entrepreneurs from seven companies were selected by an independent judging panel chaired by Diane Foreman, CEO of Emerald Group, and past winner of the programme in New Zealand – each winning an EY Entrepreneur Of The Year UK award in the following categories:

Disruptor – Martin Frost, CEO of CMR Surgical, based in Cambridge – A British medical device company founded in 2014 to develop a next-generation robotic system for minimal access surgery.

Rising Star – Norris Koppel, CEO and Founder of Monese, based in London - A 100% mobile only banking service, offering current accounts and money transfers with a presence in 31 countries.

Scale Up – (Joint winners)

Poonam Gupta OBE, Founder of PG Paper Company, based in Scotland – One of the UK’s fastest growing paper companies providing customised paper solutions for customers.


Imran Hakim, CEO of Hakim Group, based in Lancashire – Working principally within the optical industry, the Hakim Group offers practitioners the ability to run their own business with the freedom normally enjoyed by independents alongside the rigorous back-office support of a large company.

Sustained Excellence – Stuart Paver, Managing Director of Pavers Shoes, based in York A family-owned footwear business with more than 100 stores across the UK and Ireland.

Transformational Leader – Jean-Christophe Granier, Managing Director of J&D Wilkie, based in Scotland – a privately owned global textile manufacturing company, with textile manufacturing facilities in China

EY Family Business Award of Excellence™

Also during the ceremony, Sarah Dunning and Jane Lane, co-owners of The Westmorland Family of businesses – which has operated in the motorway services industry for nearly 50 years – received the Family Business Award of Excellence.

A second generation, family-run business, Westmorland was the first family run motorway services on the UK road network. Having expanded both in scale and geography, the business now employs 1,300 people and welcomes over 4 million visitors each year at their Gloucester and Tebay Services sites.


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year UK is nationally supported by LGT Vestra – Headline Sponsor. The Financial Times is the programme’s UK media partner and BoardPac is the programme’s supporter.


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.