Nine Group Founder Vivek Chadha Wins Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2017

Simon Rogerson, Group Chief Executive, and Christopher Hulatt, Founder of London-based Octopus Capital, were named ‘EY London & South Entrepreneur Of The Year 2017 overall winner’ at an awards ceremony at BAFTA in the capital last night.

Whilst still on a graduate training programme 17 years ago, Simon and Christopher (aged 25 and 23 respectively) set up Octopus Capital with, in their words, ‘no money and no experience.’ They raised funds for the company when they had no products, no customers and no office. They describe how almost everyone believed they would fail, but their passion and ‘terminator gene’ saw them through. The investment company now has more than 500 people and manages £6 billion on behalf of more than 50,000 investors.

In the last few years Octopus has entered a number of new industries – most notably energy and healthcare – building care homes, hospitals, retirement villages, and special needs schools. It is also the third largest owner of renewable energy assets in the UK, capable of powering a city the size of Manchester with renewable energy.

Octopus dominates a number of the markets they operate in and are regularly voted the number one provider for customer service. Their aim is to turn their dream of “Octopus In Every Home” into a reality.

Simon Pearson, EY Entrepreneur Of The Year leader in London, said: “Set up in 2000, Octopus is a highly disruptive, customer obsessed business in the financial services, energy and healthcare sectors and is one of the fastest growing private companies in the world.

“Motivated by the opinions of their employees and customers and the impact they are making, Simon and Christopher want to breathe new life into the industries serving some of our most important needs and thereby improving the lives of millions of people.”

Simon and Christopher of Octopus Capital, who also took home the Master award, were described by the independent panel of judges as ‘fast growth’ and ‘disrupting an entire sector in renewables.’

Other winners:

In total 14 entrepreneurs from ten companies were honoured on the night, each winning an EY Entrepreneur Of The Year award in each of the following categories:

Disruptor – Dr Gordon Sanghera, Oxford Nanopore Technologies, based in Oxford – Technology to enable the analysis of any living thing, by any person, in any environment.

International – Clive Nation, Chief Executive Officer of Cennox based in Camberley – Cennox provide a varied portfolio of services to support the Banking & Retail industries.

Master – Adrian Binks, Chairman & Chief Executive of Argus Media Ltd, based in London – Argus is a leading provider of price data, news, analysis, conferences and consulting services to the energy and commodities sectors.


Simon Rogerson, Group Chief Executive, and Christopher Hulatt, Founder, of Octopus Capital, based in London – Building highly disruptive, customer obsessed businesses in the financial services, energy and healthcare sectors.

Rising Star – Ella Mills, Brand Director, and Matthew Mills, CEO, of Deliciously Ella, based in London – Food and lifestyle brand.


Vivek Chadha, Hotelier, Nine Group based in Watford – Nine Group owns and operates Hotels in London and in major cities around the UK. The business was founded by Vivek Chadha where he saw an opportunity to scale a hotel business due to the lack of supply in the UK regions and M25.

Scale Up – John Turner, CEO, Regulatory Finance Solutions Limited, based in Swindon – An independently owned regulatory management consultancy.


Clare Johnston, Founder & co-CEO of The Up Group, based in London – The Up Group is Europe’s leading digital executive search and networking firm. With over a decade of expertise in building outstanding leadership teams across the digital landscape, The Up Group offers unrivalled insight into the challenges facing companies going through disruptive growth and transformational change.

Transformational Leader – Gareth Hughes, Chief Executive of Marston Holdings (Marston) based in Essex – The UK’s largest judicial services Group. It recovers unpaid debts, taxes and court orders on behalf of central government, local government and private creditors.

Building a Better Working World – Christopher Baker-Brian, Co-Founder, and CTO; Mansoor Hamayun, Co-founder and CEO; and Laurent Van Houcke, Co-founder and COO, of BBOXX Limited based in London – BBOXX is a venture backed company developing solutions to provide affordable, clean energy to off-grid communities in the developing world.

All regional winners (Scotland, North, Midlands and London & South) will head to London in October for the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year UK Final, where the overall UK winner will be announced and go on to compete with fast growth business leaders across the globe, for the title EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year 2018.

Special Award – EY Family Business Award of Excellence

During the ceremony, hosts EY presented a special award – Family Business Award of Excellence – to The Rubin Family – Pentland Group. A third-generation, family-owned business, Pentland is the name behind some of the world’s best sports, outdoor and fashion brands, including: Berghaus, Speedo, Mitre, and Red or Dead.

Based in North London, the business has roots in the North West, with its founders setting up The Liverpool Shoe Company in 1932 with little more than £100 base capital. The company floated on the stock exchange in 1964, changing its name to Pentland in the 70s and bought a 55% stake in a small athletic footwear brand called Reebok USA for $77,500 in 1981. Pentland now has annual sales of USD $3 billion across 190 countries, and their brands are well-known by people all over the world.


The independent judging panel was chaired by Diane Foreman, one of New Zealand’s most successful entrepreneurs, who is Chairman of the Chelsea Group. She was joined by Saleem Asaria, Chief Executive Officer, Cambian Group; Melissa Bethell, Managing Director, Bain Capital; Matthew Bridge, Principal, The Virgin Group; Kym Denny, Chief Executive Officer, hVIVO; Matt Isaacs, Founding Partner and Executive, Essence; Michelle Morgan, Founder and Managing Director, Livity; and Chris Sellers, Group Business Development Director, Capita.


EY Entrepreneur Of The Year is nationally sponsored by LGT Vestra and Merrill Corporation. The Financial Times is the programme’s UK media partner.

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Nine Group Purchases Hilton Basingstoke

All properties, with the exception of Swindon (pictured, right), have been purchased by buyers clear of the current Hilton branding and management.They were: Basingstoke, 141 rooms; Bromsgrove, 146 rooms; Dunkeld (pictured, above), 98 rooms; Newbury, 109 rooms; Newport, 148 rooms; and Swindon, 171 rooms.

Christie & Co advised the private vendors in each case.

Jeremy Jones, head of hotels brokerage at Christie & Co commented: “We are delighted to bring this successful campaign to an end. The properties were offered on a whole, sub-group or individual sale basis. All of the buyers have recognised the individual opportunities on offer which illustrates the shift in focus to single asset sales.”

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Trafford Park hotel in Manchester to be given new lease of life

The Trafford Park hotel in Manchester is to be refurbished and relaunched under a mid-market international boutique brand after being derelict for eight years.

Built in 1902, the Grade II-listed property was sold at auction earlier this year for nearly £900,000, three times the guide price of £300,000, and is now owned as a joint venture between Nine Group and Ashley Hotels.

Nine Group is the owner and operator of 18 branded hotels in the UK, including the Mercure St Albans Noke hotel, Crowne Plaza Basingstoke and the Novotel London Heathrow Airport. It also has joint ownership of the Dragon hotel in Swansea with Ashley Hotels.

Planning permission has been submitted for the building of an additional wing to the red-brick iconic building to take the total bedroom count up to 120.

The hotel, which will operate under a franchise agreement, was operated by Enterprise Inns until its closure in 2009.

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Up to 60 jobs created in Horley after hotel is bought following fall into administration

Positioned to act as a community hub for businesses and Horley residents alike, the hotel is set to be extensively renovated after being closed for four years, with a multi-million pound investment bringing it up to a 4 star rating with an international hotel brand.

Headed up by Vivek Chadha – who was recently announced as the winner of Entrepreneur of the Year for the London and South region in Ernst & Young 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year awards – Nine Group is one of the fastest growing private hotel companies in the UK, employing nearly 800 people.

Previously owned by the Menzies hotel group, the Chequers hotel in Bonehurst Road, Horley – ideally situated to serve Gatwick airport – first opened in the 1800s and was a landmark pitstop on the London to Brighton veteran car run.

Administrators were appointed and the hotel closed after its parent company failed to find a buyer in 2013, resulting in the immediate loss of 50 jobs.

Upon the announcement of the acquisition, director of Nine Group, Vivek Chadha said:

‘I am delighted to be re-opening the Chequers hotel following its closure 4 years ago. We’ll be bringing new life into the area, putting this landmark hotel back on the map. Nine Group are investing substantially in the renovation to transform this Victorian building into an internationally branded hotel. We plan to retain the hotel’s famous on-site pub as a destination for locals and guests alike to enjoy a drink. We expect to create up to 60 jobs in the locality.’

The Nine Group portfolio is diverse, with a mixture of residential and commercial property, plus hotels including the Mercure St Albans Noke Hotel, Holiday Inn London Watford Junction and the recently acquired Trafford Park hotel in the centre of Manchester.

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JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group has advised on the sale of the Best Western Plus Reading Moat House, securing an undisclosed sum off a guide price in excess of £12.5m.

The 129 bedroom property occupies 9.5 acres and is a Grade II listed 19th Century former mill house which was converted in the 1980s.

Set overlooking the River Loddon, the property has five meeting rooms, a 120 cover restaurant, a 60 seat bar and adjoining public house benefiting from easy access to Reading town centre.

Vivek Chadha, director of Nine Group, said: “The Reading Moat House is a very strategic and long term purchase for our Group.

“We plan to spend millions on the refurbishing and development on this hotel to make it a one stop leisure and business destination.

“This hotel fits perfectly in our groups strategic expansion strategy.”

Gavin Wright, director, JLL’s Hotels & Hospitality Group, added: “This was a fantastic opportunity to secure a hotel which presents a variety of opportunities for an incoming investor due to its superb location and surrounding market.

“Given the strong corporate occupier base, the property has scope to be efficiently repositioned with or without a brand in order to further grow RevPAR.”

BQ’s commercial property updates are supported by specialist lender Together, which provides funding to businesses and property investors nationwide. With over forty years’ experience in the financial services industry, Together offers short-term finance, auction finance, buy-to-let, residential and commercial mortgages and secured loans.

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