Richard Taylor, co-founder of Weta Workshop and Weta Digital and representing New Zealand, was one of 47 business leaders from 39 companies competing for the title of Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year over the weekend. All have won national Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year titles and were in Monte Carlo representing their countries in the world’s only global business award.
Guy Laliberté, the founder and CEO of Cirque du Soleil was named Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year for 2007. Guy Laliberté represented Canada at the Awards.
Richard said he was thrilled to have been part of the Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. “I am extremely honoured to have been among the astounding talent which is here in Monte Carlo. It has been an immensely enriching and rewarding experience to meet and socialise with people from around the world who are at the top of their game,” he said.
Richard says he dedicated his Monte Carlo experience to the team that supported his and partner Tania Roger’s creative vision. “My involvement in this competition recognizes the successes Weta has achieved with the combined support of a team that embody four key traits: passion, enthusiasm, tenacity and talent. Tania and I could not have achieved our creative goals without this crew, and for that, I dedicate this experience to them.”
Richard has been in Monte Carlo for the past week, meeting the international independent panel of eight judges that included former Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year winners and judges.
Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards director Roger Hatrick-Smith, who was with Richard in Monte Carlo, said Richard’s participation in Monte Carlo represents New Zealand’s ability to successfully participate in the global business environment.
“It’s a great barometer of New Zealand business, to have Richard Taylor representing us on the world stage. The opportunity to showcase Richard, his business and New Zealand business within this forum is invaluable,” he said.
Richard commented that all of the 46 other finalists were making impressive and significant contributions to global business and to be part of this group was an honour.
“There were contestants such as Canada’s Guy Laliberté who took Cirque du Soleil to the world and India’s Tulsi Tanti who started Suzlon, which is now the fifth largest wind turbine manufacturer in the world. All of these people had highly inspirational business stories to tell. Meeting them and many others in this environment has been inspiring,” he said.
Richard began what would grow to become Weta as a small effects business, with his partner Tania Rodger, in the back of their Wellington flat in 1987.
Richard Taylor, with his co-directors Peter Jackson and Jamie Selkirk, have made Weta into a multi-million dollar business, which operates out of a 65,000 square foot facility in Wellington and provides physical and digital effects for films, advertisements and television shows, as well as now diversifying into high end collectibles, publishing, commercial chainmaille manufacturing and television production.
Along the way, Richard has personally won five Oscars and been involved with the highly acclaimed The Lord of the Rings trilogy and most recently King Kong.
Entries are now open for New Zealand’s 2007 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, which will be announced at an award banquet on 14 November, 2007.