The top eight entrepreneur CAs under 35

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By Eleanor O'Neill, CA Today

14 July 2016

With just two short months until our 35 CAs under 35 category winners and One Young CA are announced, CA Today takes a closer look at our Entrepreneurship shortlist.

This category is for the young CAs who have demonstrated real entrepreneurial spirit. The passion and drive to take on and develop a venture successfully was essential and has highlighted these candidates among the best the business world has to offer.

Our finalists have founded companies, invested in fresh innovations and transformed practices across a wide variety of sectors.

ICAS places enormous value on our members who are unafraid to take initiative and make great ideas a reality, demonstrated by the theme of the 2016 ICAS Conference: ‘Innovation and Entrepreneurs in Brexit Britain’.

The 2016 ICAS 35 CAs under 35 Entrepreneurship finalists

Kieran D'Silva CA

Co-Founder & CFO, PrimaryBid

"Having set-up a couple of businesses during university, I knew that was the direction I wanted my career to take after graduation."

Career summary

  • Qualified as a CA with EY.
  • 2006: Managing Director at Doc Com Design.
  • 2007: Executive at EY.
  • 2010: Investment Banking Associate at Citi.
  • 2013: CFO at Darwin Strategic Limited.
  • 2016: Co-founder and CFO at PrimaryBid Limited.
  • Advisory Board Member of Footprints Life Camp.
  • Member of the Venture Partnership Foundation (VPF).

The judges liked: Confidence and integrity.

Kevin Harvie CA

Founder, Hectares Food

"Whilst working at Grant Thornton I had been looking for an idea to start my own business and I spotted the growth in demand for sweet potatoes."

Career summary

  • Qualified as a CA with Grant Thornton.
  • 2008: Associate at Grant Thornton.
  • 2011: Corporate Finance Executive at Grant Thornton.
  • 2013: Corporate Finance Manager at Grant Thornton.
  • 2013: Founder of Hectares Food Limited.

The judges liked: Innovation and passion.

Jennifer Hatfield CA

Chartered Accountant, Hummingbird Accountancy Services

“I am young, I'm a CA and I am a Digital Entrepreneur. I believe that online, cloud accounting and flexible mobile apps are the future of numbers."

Career summary

  • Qualified as a CA with KPMG.
  • 2006: Tax Assistant Manager at KPMG.
  • 2010: CCS Programme Manager at co2sense Yorkshire.
  • 2011: Operations Commercial Analyst at Asda.
  • 2013: Management Accountant at Locala Community Partnerships.
  • 2014: Founder and Lead Accountant at Hummingbird Accountancy Services.

The judges liked: Integrity and forward thinking.

James Roy Poulter CA

CEO, Pronto

"I have spent my recent professional life working in technology startups - but Pronto is so much deeper, so much more important than just another app on the iStore."

Career summary

  • Qualified as a CA with EY.
  • 2009: Manager at Selling People Limited.
  • 2009: International Tax Advisor at EY.
  • 2010: Business Advisor at Bright Ideas Trust.
  • 2012: Founder at UNILIBRI.
  • 2013: Developer in Residence at Playfair Capital.
  • 2014: Founder and CEO at Pronto Limited.

The judges liked: Innovation and resilience.

Brian Toward CA

IT & Finance Director, Wholesale Domestic

"Within three months of joining I took the business online and we now retail 24 hours a day throughout the UK."

Career summary

  • Qualified as a CA with Deloitte.
  • 2007: Manager at Deloitte.
  • 2012: IT & Finance Director at Wholesale Domestic.

The judges liked: Passion and business savvy.

Mark Spiers CA

CFO, Trocafone

"I very quickly realized the importance of having efficient business processes and strong IT systems to support finance and the business."

Career summary

  • Qualified as a CA with PwC.
  • 2005: Assurance Executive at PwC.
  • 2010: Financial Controller at Barclays.
  • 2012: Programme AVP at Deutsche Bank.
  • 2013: Manager at Deutsche Bank.
  • 2015: Co-founder and Advisor at Prontochef Brasil.
  • 2015: Non-Executive Director and Advisor at CONEXIS.
  • 2016: CFO at Trocafone.

The judges liked: Leadership and drive.

Joel Watt CA

Founder, Jack Taylor/VISTEM

"It is my ability to spot and understand opportunity that has been key to my success to date."

Career summary

  • Qualified as a CA with PwC.
  • 2009: Senior Associate at PwC.
  • 2013: Co-founder and Director at Jack Taylor.
  • 2014: Founder and Director at VISTEM.

The judges liked: Ambition and innovation.

John Wilmot CA

CEO, Nameloop

"The most important thing for me is being true to myself and the strong ethical stance that comes with being a CA."

Career summary

  • Qualified as a CA with Wylie & Bisset.
  • 2004: Auditor at Wylie & Bisset.
  • 2007: Corporate Finance Analyst at Brewin Dolphin.
  • 2009: IRR Modelling Consultant at Archangels Informal Investors.
  • 2009: Co-founder and Finance Director at Bourne.
  • 2010: Finance Director at CARGO eCommerce Solutions.
  • 2012: Finance director at Bite Communications.
  • 2013: Co-founder and CEO at Nameloop.

The judges liked: Integrity and adaptability.

The winner of the Entrepreneurship category will be announced in a prestigious awards ceremony at the CA Dinner in London on 7 September 2016.

The annual event will be hosted by ICAS Chief Executive Anton Colella and ICAS President Ken McHattie. This year, our after-dinner speaker will be comedian and TV personality Jo Brand.

It is the perfect opportunity to connect with eminent business leaders across a range of industries and broaden your professional network.

Along with the chance to be named the 2016 ICAS One Young CA, the category winner will receive a free place at both the CA Dinner and the flagship ICAS Conference, a mentor as part of the ICAS career mentoring programme and various speaking opportunities at future ICAS events.

Find out more about this year's candidates and show your support by up-voting your favourites on the One Young CA website.


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