By Daniel Hunter

Almost half (46%) of British workers think that UK entrepreneurs need to make more of international opportunities, with the US, China, Japan, India, Germany and even Canada being rated as more entrepreneurial nations than the UK.

The survey results, released by Youth Business International (YBI) to support its Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, also showed that a substantial proportion of the 1,000 UK workers surveyed (44%) gave the UK a score of six or seven out of 10 as an entrepreneurial nation.

In a tough field containing representatives from more than 30 nations, this year’s Entrepreneur of the Year Winner was named as Naibo Yu, 27, from China. Naibo, whose business, HowLang Group, develops software products which enable pupils with different needs to learn more effectively, was selected by a panel of expert judges — including Rich Ricci, Chief Executive, Corporate and Investment Banking at Barclays, and restaurateur Alan Yau.

Naibo’s business was chosen because of the technical innovation his business demonstrates, his sustainable business model and the potential for growth in his business, which is aiming for private equity investment in 2014. Judges hailed the company as having the potential to revolutionise the education industry and praised Naibo for his commitment to helping other young people start and grow their own enterprises in this local community.

Using cloud computing, Naibo Yu has been able to bring the latest technology into the traditional education sector, making education easier, more effective and more relevant to today’s schools. Since founding HowLang Group in 2008 with a loan and mentoring from Youth Business International’s China partner, Youth Business China, the company has grown by more than 5,000% every year and now employs 200 people, with a turnover last year of US$20 million.

Naibo’s innovative products suit the needs of everyone involved — the teachers use the platform for teaching, the students use the platform for learning, and parents can use it to see how their child is doing at school and share their feedback with the teachers.

“This year saw some particularly impressive entries, but for us, Naibo Yu really stood out," Rich Ricci, Chief Executive, Corporate and Investment Banking at Barclays, said.

"His focus on innovation and his dedication to developing his product for education makes Naibo an excellent role model for anyone looking to start their own business. I hope young people from all backgrounds will be inspired by Naibo to achieve their own entrepreneurial goals.

"At Barclays we believe that encouraging the growth of new business is vitally important to the worldwide economy. The Entrepreneur of the Year Awards shine a light on how nations and individuals across the world are embracing entrepreneurship.”

The YBI Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, supported by Barclays, aim to promote entrepreneurship and celebrate the achievements of young entrepreneurs around the world, and show how they can contribute to local communities.

Naibo, the newly crowned YBI Entrepreneur of the Year, said: “Entrepreneurs are changing the world and I am so pleased to be a part of this movement. It’s very special to me to have won this award. I’d like to thank my friends and family for the enormous amount of support they’ve given me. I’d also like to highlight the support and guidance I’ve had from Youth Business China and Youth Business International.”

Andrew Devenport, Youth Business International Chief Executive said: “In an increasingly global market, entrepreneurs need to be making use of global opportunities — and the UK is no exception. As an organization working in 34 different countries, we see how entrepreneurship can act as a force for good, both for individuals and the wider community, in every country in which it’s embraced. In times of economic difficulties, the UK can only benefit from celebrating its entrepreneurs, and helping support them by sharing ideas and innovations from around the world.”

The Entrepreneur of the Year Winner Award was presented at a London-based ceremony last night (Tuesday), along with the Youth Business International Awards for:

§ Environmental Entrepreneur of the Year, presented to Igor Zaboev from Russia for Karton Chernozemie, a recycling firm, which processes 200 tonnes of paper and 150 tonnes of plastic waste each month.

§ Woman Entrepreneur of the Year, awarded to Madhuri Khandave of India for Gayatri Ladies Tailor and Saris, which employs 37 people proving garments to commercial clients.

§ The People’s Choice Award — voted for by the public — which went to Fushun Zhu of China, who runs a unique egg farming business.

§ Mentor of the Year, which was awarded to Viswanathan Lakshmanaswamy from India who has been a mentor for more than 16 years and has helped develop a mentoring programme

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