Steven Hudson, CEO of Element Financial, named EY Entrepreneur Of The Year in Ontario
TORONTO--Steven Hudson, Chief Executive Officer of Element Financial Corporation, a North American leader in fleet management and equipment finance, is this year's Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Ontario winner.
"Steven's originality and innovation shines through in all he does," says Paula Smith, EY partner and Entrepreneur Of The Year Ontario Co-Director. "His entrepreneurial vision helped him navigate his business through tough economic times – by completing daring strategic acquisitions and introducing cutting-edge technology capabilities in the fleet management business."
In 2011, when the economy was still reeling from the 2008 financial crisis, Steven saw an opportunity. While it was possible for big corporations to borrow money, smaller equipment and vehicle dealers had a hard time finding the financing for their needs. To fill the gap, Element Financial was born. Since 2011, it's grown its assets from $20 million to $25 billion today.
With more than three million vehicles under management in nearly 50 countries around the world, Element is a leader in fleet management. Steven shook up this industry with a focus on high-quality data that can help improve efficiency and save costs. In 2014, he made two strategic acquisitions and invested the cost savings into leading fleet management technologies, including telematics, to offer new services to customers and set new industry standards.
Earlier this month, Element Financial Corporation separated into two standalone, market-leading companies – Element Fleet Management Corp. (TSX:EFN) and ECN Capital Corp. (TSX:ECN). The restructuring will maximize the performance of both sides of the original business, for the benefit of all shareholders. Steven has since taken on the role of CEO, ECN Capital, which will operate the company's commercial, vendor, rail and aviation finance businesses.
Steven is a devoted philanthropist to boot. In 2012, he started a corporate program that commits 1.5% of the company's pre-tax profit to community-focused charitable causes. As an example, Element has been a strong supporter of St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto and the Children's Aid Foundation.
"Economic challenges inspired Steven to ask better questions and offer much-needed services," says Elena Doucette, EY partner and Entrepreneur Of The Year Ontario Co-Director. "As a leader, he inspires loyalty in those around him, consistently demonstrates his ability to innovate and makes a point of giving back to the community. We're pleased to honour Steven with this award."
Special citation – social entrepreneurship
The 27 October gala also honoured Matthew Choi, Marina Glogovac, Ryan Little and Aaron Pereira, of CanadaHelps.org with an EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Special Citation award for social entrepreneurship.
As the Ontario region's EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2016, Steven will compete with top entrepreneurs from the Pacific, Prairies, Atlantic and Quebec regions for the national honour of Canada's EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2016.
Carinne Chambers of Diva International Inc. will receive a special citation for Industry Disruptor. Both Steven and Carinne will be honoured at a gala celebration on 22 November 2016 in Toronto. In June 2017, Canada's EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2016 will move to the world stage to compete with more than 50 country recipients for the title of EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year.