Chris Hopkins, managing director of renewable energy specialists Ploughcroft, is celebrating after being shortlisted for the North Entrepreneur Of The Year Award.

Hopkins was selected as a finalist from hundreds of entrants across the Northern region for these annual awards, which recognise excellence in business success and are run by global professional services firm Ernst & Young.

The regional winner will be announced at a ceremony in Manchester on 26th June and the winner from each of the four regions will go through to the national final, with the chance to receive the title of UK Entrepreneur Of The Year. The UK winner will then automatically be entered into the firm’s international awards, representing the country on a global scale.

Hopkins said, “It is really exciting to be shortlisted for this award. I hope that my story will help to inspire other entrepreneurs to overcome their challenges and grow their businesses significantly, even in difficult economic times. Our business has grown rapidly in the past 12 months and we are aiming to become the leading renewable energy company for UK households.”

Hopkins has already gained national recognition after securing investment from Deborah Meaden and Theo Paphitis on BBC TV’s Dragons’ Den. The television appearance also helped the company to extend its presence across the UK and led to an overnight doubling in sales enquiries.

Hopkins continued, “It would be great to get through to the next stage of this prestigious competition, mainly because I want to inspire others in traditional industries about how they too can transform their business by focusing on new market sectors. We achieved this at Ploughcroft by using our traditional roofing and contracting skills to target the rapidly expanding renewable sectors, with great success.”

Stuart Watson, Ernst & Young UK leader of Entrepreneur Of The Year, said, “The finalists represent the current crop of business superstars, who despite a challenging economic environment are propelling growth and innovation. With total determination, self belief and commitment to succeed, the entrepreneurs have managed to spot opportunities which are helping to transform companies, entire sectors, and quite often society as a whole.”