IMD alumnus Hans-Petter Mellerud is on track to become the world’s best entrepreneur after being chosen as Norway’s Entrepreneur of 2017 by EY, a professional services firm.  

Mellerud, who founded cloud computing consultancy firm Zalaris, will be one of 50 country winners fighting for EY’s prestigious World Entrepreneur of the Year 2018 award in Monaco in June this year.  

He said: “It is an honour and a privilege to receive ‘EY Entrepreneur of the Year’ [after] so many great entrepreneurs and businesses were nominated. This recognition symbolises the tremendous work our 800 employees in #teamZalaris put down every single day.” 

Mellerud received an MBA from IMD in 1990 after getting a bachelor of science and master of science in computer science from America’s University of Tulsa in 1986. 

Zalaris was founded in 2000 in Oslo, Norway. The company delivers cloud based technology, consulting and outsourcing services that cover all aspects of payroll and human capital management processes — including recruiting and on-boarding, global master data, talent management, time and attendance, travel expenses and payroll.  

Zalaris has grown from a startup to a publicly-listed company, floating its shares on the Oslo Stock Exchange in 2014. Annual turnover was NOK 730m in 2017.  

Over the past six months, Zalaris has acquired the German company Sumarum AG and the UK company ROC Global Solution Consulting Limited, increasing its presence across Europe.  

Mellerud began his leadership career as a managing director and consultant with outsourcing companies in Germany and Switzerland.  

Prior to founding Zalaris, he was a partner at Accenture, where he was responsible for business development in the consultancy firm’s Nordic Outsourcing Unit. He also established the firm’s Stavanger-based Accounting Shared Services Unit, which integrates accounting operations for large oil companies. 

Each year EY conducts an annual search for the best entrepreneurs in numerous nations. This year marks the 16th time that EY has arranged the award in Norway, and the prize has formerly been awarded to entrepreneurs such as Petter Stordalen, who owns Scandinavia’s largest hotel chain, Nordic Choice Hotels, and Odd Reitan, who owns the fifth largest retailer in Norway.  

The requirements for the prize are a minimum revenue of NOK 20m, 20 employees and 20% growth during the previous two years. 

The independent jury, which consists of Åse Aulie Michelet, Hege Skryseth, Harald Tyrdal, Trond Solberg and Harald Norvik, praised Mellerud and Zalaris for ingenuity and customer orientation.  

The jury said: “Through personal involvement and strategic decisions, the winner has established an innovative group with [a] wide international presence.  

“The winner has shown good ability to be at the forefront of technology, seeing opportunities where others see obstacles, and [has] succeeded in establishing an innovative and customer-focused business.”