The Malta Independent 21 February 2019, Thursday

After the Rising Star Award

Tuesday, 15 January 2019, 09:14 Last update: about 2 months ago

In early 2018, Shane A. Hunter, Managing Partner at the AquaBioTech Group, was named the Rising Star at EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. As nominations for this year’s award draw to a close, we asked Mr Hunter about how his business is developing and how being named a ‘Rising Star’ has helped.

Shane Hunter (centre) with (from left) EY Malta Managing Partner Ronald Attard and HSBC Bank Malta Chief Executive Andrew C. Beane
Shane Hunter (centre) with (from left) EY Malta Managing Partner Ronald Attard and HSBC Bank Malta Chief Executive Andrew C. Beane

The AquaBioTech Group is clearly an entrepreneurial success story. What do you think are the main factors behind your success?

Basically, it comes down to years and years of sheer hard work and perseverance by a huge team of people that have collectively believed in our abilities to make the company what it is today.  I have also been very fortunate to have had my wife and family and a number of colleagues backing me from the very start, believing in my vision for the company.

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How has your business developed in 2018, and what are your aspirations for the new year?

2018 was a very exciting year as we reached a number of important development milestones as part of our internal and external development strategy and with this came significant business growth for the company. This year will be a continuation of that growth, as well as the development of two new business areas for the company which are very interesting for us as we believe that they will be game-changing for our industry.

 

One highlight from last year is you winning EY's Rising Star Award. What prompted you to take part and what did it mean to win?

Personally, it was very encouraging to be nominated by my colleagues for the award and even more of a surprise and an honour to win the award. This award and others that our company has been presented with are very important for all the members of the team as it is an external form of recognition and puts your company as a whole in the spotlight.

Apart from winning, were there any other benefits as a result of taking part in the Entrepreneur of the Year awards?

The first benefit comes from the application process itself, as it makes you sit back and think again about how you present yourself and the company to a third-party - in this case a panel of judges. The second is the competing process, the interview, the meeting with other nominees and learning about their businesses. The third is the awards night itself - I must admit that I wasn't expecting to win, given the level of competition but, as I said, winning was a very special experience for me personally. The fourth and final benefit was the EY event in Monaco that EY Malta kindly invited me and my wife to attend, along with the EY Malta Champion, Angelo Xuereb, and his family. This awards event was very cleverly linked to an EY networking and business conference over two days where I was able to attend a number of sessions and listen and learn from other entrepreneurs, as well as EY specialists from all over their network. The experience was amazing and one that I really appreciated as it gave me a unique insight into many other businesses from across the world.

 

What advice would you give to any entrepreneur thinking of applying for this year's awards?

Go for it! The process is simple and rewarding (even if you don't win), as it gives you a moment to reflect on your business, remind you where you are with your strategy and challenges you to communicate that strategy to a third party.

 

More broadly, what advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs who are thinking about taking the plunge and setting up their own business in 2019?

Establishing a business isn't easy and no one should go into such a venture thinking that it will be. Do your research, develop your plan and don't be scared to share your ideas with others who can potentially spot pit-falls and mistakes: learn from others and their successes and failures. Ultimately, you have to completely believe in what you are doing and surround yourself with others who also share your passion so that you can all give it 110 per cent, yet still find time for yourself and your family, because this keeps you grounded.

 

Nominations for the 2019 Malta EY Entrepreneur of the YearTM Award are now open until 31 January 2019. The competition is open to entrepreneurs from all sectors, established and new, with the winner announced during an award ceremony in March 2019.

To apply and for further information visit www.eoymalta.com

 

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