Lessons learned competing in the 2021 EY program

Representing the United States against the “Who’s Who” of world-class entrepreneurs in the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year® program was one of the proudest moments in my life. Purpose, passion, fortitude, confidence and team are collectively assessed to judge business leaders who are changing the world. Here’s my experience and the lessons I learned.
Why do it?
Being a private person, I am disinclined to compete for awards unless they support our business’s social mission: Promoting awareness, scientific advancement and accelerated access to transformative treatments for rare disease patients. After years of nominations, I finally acquiesced in 2020 to compete in the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® competition. After being selected a winner in the Northeast region, as well as winning nationally, I earned the opportunity to compete for the 2021 EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year® award, representing the United States.
Why me?
Matthew Rycroft said, “How a society treats its most vulnerable is always the measure of its humanity.” I attribute getting far in the competition to using entrepreneurship as a tool to improve humanity. But there were many amalgamated factors that led to my success.
I started from nothing and stayed hungry, guided by integrous mentors who instilled in me this responsibility to humanity. I surrounded myself with loyal, driven talent. I maintained focus, open-mindedness and relentlessness (fortitude), creating companies with meaningful social missions, paying it forward. I refused mediocrity and failure. I also retained balance in life and blurred the line between work and pleasure.
How did it work?
After making it through the regional and national rounds, the world competition process involved a detailed evaluation report focused on six criteria: entrepreneurial spirit, value creation, strategic direction, national/global impact, innovation and purpose-driven leadership. Several judges conducted an intense live interview process, with supplemental materials and videos completing the assessment.
What was the outcome?
I was humbled by the incredible contenders. If a person’s character is judged by the company he/she keeps, this was an example of how the son of a blue-collar family from a steel town could be elevated. Although honored to be a world finalist and to compete fiercely as the U.S. representative, it was not destiny to be chosen the overall winner. I was, however, subsequently informed that I brought home the gold in the popular vote conducted online.
Was it worth it?
Absolutely. It allowed me to drive for my cause, business and self. The process forced me to think introspectively and become even more determined to run at the borderless challenge of linking life-transforming treatments and care to patients with rare diseases.
What was learned?
The process reinforced that success is not about one person’s accomplishments but those of many working in unison toward a common goal. The formidable entrepreneur competitors, supported by inspired teams, create hope for humankind. Their innate ability to see around corners and refusal to accept defeat cultivate the ambitions, ideas and systems that drive innovation and progress.

Even in the darkness of recent global crises, entrepreneurs find opportunities amidst chaos that ignite the dreams of success.

Dr. Gordon Vanscoy, Pharm.D., MBA, is Chairman & CEO of RareMed Solutions