A ST Helens businessman has been shortlisted as a finalist for a coveted Entrepreneur of the Year award.
Ian Munro, chief executive of St Helens-based CRG (Castlerock Recruitment Group), was one of 28 North West entrepreneurs shortlisted for the regional Ernst and Young gong.
Glenn Cooper, of Haydock bollard company ATG Access, is also on the prestigious shortlist.
The winner is set to be announced at the Hilton Hotel in Manchester next month.
Mr Munro said: “I’m delighted to have been selected as a finalist in the North West Entrepreneur Of The Year awards.
“It’s a huge honour to be pitted against some of the biggest business personalities in the region.
“When I acquired CRG, it was my aim to create the UK’s leading healthcare recruitment company.
“We have successfully navigated an incredibly harsh economic climate to experience levels of growth that have surpassed all expectations.”
He added: “CRG has a very strong team ethic, so I’d like to think that recognition at this level is testament to the entrepreneurial spirit that pervades the company.
“We’re all very excited about the next stages in the judging process.”
Regional Entrepreneur of the Year winners will go on to vie for Ernst and Young’s national title later in the year.
The eventual winner could even win the chance to represent their country at a global awards ceremony in Monte Carlo.
The 2013 North of England judging panel will be chaired and led by Anthony Preston, founder of Pets at Home.
Mr Preston said: “I’m delighted to play my part in recognising the great entrepreneurial talent in our region.
“These business leaders represent job and wealth creation, which are important factors in tough markets.
“My fellow judges and I look forward to meeting them, hearing their stories and their diverse approaches to growth.”
Robert Crooks, of Ernst and Young, said: “Our finalists are growing their businesses in the face of a flat economy. These entrepreneurial business leaders are identifying opportunities for growth and grabbing them. Innovative thinking gives them the edge over others - it’s in their very nature.
“The finalists in this year’s programme show deep understanding of their customer’s needs and are developing new products or services to match them exactly.
“Entrepreneurs aren’t waiting for traditional markets to recover, they are ramping up activities and capitalising on pockets of potential.”