James Villarreal with his awards
James Villarreal with his awards

James Villarreal, chief executive officer of Glide became the first contender from the Entrepreneurial category to win Birmingham Young Professional of the Year (BYPY) at the event’s 10th anniversary awards ceremony.

Mr Villarreal, 24, won the Entrepreneurial category despite stiff competition from Moo Moo Youth Marketing director Tim Nutbeam, who received a special commendation from the judges.

He went on to beat fellow category winners from the Financial Services, Legal, Recruitment and Training, Property and Construction and Communications sectors to the coveted BYPY crown.

A panel of judges, chaired by Michelin starred chef Glynn Purnell, chose Mr Villarreal, who founded Glide in 2006 with business partner Sandeep Krishan. The pair offered a solution to splitting bills in shared accommodation by billing each tenant individually.

The other winners on the night were Katie Banks of Town Hall and Symphony Hall Birmingham, who came out on top in the Communications category; Simon O’Neill of Ernst & Young, who triumphed in the Financial category; Pinsent Masons’ Matthew Heaton, who beat off contenders in the Legal category; Paul Dalton from Mace Group who led the pack in the Property and Construction category; and Joel Graham-Blake from Cultiv8 Solutions who took the title for the Recruitment and Training category.

The event, which took place at the ICC, also saw Bernard Shepherd, consultant at law firm HBJ Gateley Wareing, accept his award for Inspiring Leader 2010.

Amanda Porter, chairman of Birmingham Future and senior solicitor at Mills & Reeve, said: “All of the judges were really impressed with James’ drive and his enthusiasm for enterprise.”

“He is a great role model for young people in the region and I’m looking forward to seeing what he does during his year as BYPY 2010.”

“The were some really talented finalists this year and the Entrepreneurial category was particularly impressive, which is why we decided to publicly commend a finalist who hadn’t won for the first time in the awards’ history.”

Darren Walker, chairman of the BYPY committee and an associate at law firm Cobbetts, said: “It is fitting that as BYPY celebrates its tenth anniversary we are also celebrating the first ever winner to come from the Entrepreneurial category.”

“The awards this year really were a night to remember and I’m excited about what could be in store for BYPY during the next ten years.”