EY Announces Justin Bakes as Entrepreneur Of The Year Award Finalist

August 24, 2020 | Company News

August 24, 2020Ernst & Young LLP (EY US) recently announced that Justin Bakes, Founder & CEO of Forward Financing, was named an Entrepreneur Of The Year® New England Award finalist for the second year in a row. Now in its 34th year, the Entrepreneur Of The Year program honors entrepreneurial business leaders whose ambitions deliver innovation, growth and prosperity as they build and sustain successful businesses that transform our world. Bakes was selected as one of 30 finalists by a panel of independent judges, and last year, he was recognized as a 2019 Entrepreneur of the Year New England finalist.


Award winners will be announced through special virtual events on October 6, 2020 and will join a lifelong community of esteemed Entrepreneur Of The Year alumni from around the world. This year, unstoppable entrepreneurs who have provided extraordinary support for their communities, employees and others during the COVID-19 crisis will also be recognized for their courage, resilience and ingenuity.


Entrepreneur Of The Year is one of the preeminent competitive award programs for entrepreneurs and leaders of high-growth companies. The nominees are evaluated based on six criteria: overcoming adversity; financial performance; societal impact and commitment to building a values-based company; innovation; and talent management. Since its launch, the program has expanded to recognize business leaders in more than 145 cities in over 60 countries around the world.


“I’m incredibly honored to be named a finalist for the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year award, alongside many other innovative leaders. We are all reimagining how to help our customers through unprecedented times, and the collaboration, innovation, and persistence that this award recognizes is more important than ever,” said Bakes, Forward Financing CEO. “Our success is a testament of our talented, hard-working team, and our dedication to helping our small business customers have the resources they need to succeed.”


Managing a small business is difficult, and Bakes founded Forward Financing in 2012 to help owners spend less time finding capital and more time growing their business. Under his leadership, the company has supported over 23,000 businesses and has been recognized on numerous awards for its financial success and great work environment. The company was recently recognized on the Inc. 5000’s list of the fastest-growing private companies for the 4th consecutive year and the Boston Business Journal’s prestigious list of the Best Places to Work.


Regional award winners are eligible for consideration for the Entrepreneur Of The Year National Awards to be announced in November during a virtual awards gala. The Entrepreneur Of The Year National Overall Award winner will then move on to compete for the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Award in June 2021.


Entrepreneur Of The Year Award winners become lifetime members of a global, multi-industry community of entrepreneurs, with exclusive, ongoing access to the experience, insight and wisdom of program alumni and other ecosystem members in over 60 countries — all supported by vast EY resources.


About Forward Financing

Forward Financing is a Boston-based financial technology company that provides fast, flexible working capital to small businesses nationwide. Our dedicated account representatives and proprietary technology help our customers spend less time finding capital and more time growing their business. With a simple, secure online application, business owners can trust Forward Financing for approvals within minutes, funding within hours, and personalized support when they need it most.

Since 2012, Forward Financing has expanded Main Street’s access to credit by providing over $750 million in funding to more than 23,000 small businesses. The company is A+ rated by the Better Business

Bureau and consistently receives top ratings across all major customer review platforms. Forward Financing has been named by both Inc. Magazine and the Boston Business Journal as one of the fastest-growing companies in Massachusetts each year since 2017. Forward Financing is committed to empowering small business owners to achieve their full potential. To learn more, visit



Founded and produced by Ernst & Young LLP, the Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards are nationally sponsored by SAP America and the Kauffman Foundation. In New England, sponsors also include Fama PR, the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst, Nixon Peabody, TRUE Search, Woodruff Sawyer, Chatham Financial, Morgan Lewis, and Sullivan and Worcester.

About Entrepreneur Of The Year®

Entrepreneur Of The Year® is the world’s most prestigious business awards program for unstoppable entrepreneurs. These visionary leaders deliver innovation, growth and prosperity that transform our world. The program engages entrepreneurs with insights and experiences that foster growth. It connects them with their peers to strengthen entrepreneurship around the world. Entrepreneur Of The Year is the first and only truly global awards program of its kind. It celebrates entrepreneurs through regional and national awards programs in more than 145 cities in over 60 countries. Winners go on to compete for the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year™ title.

About EY Private

As Advisors to the ambitious™, EY Private professionals possess the experience and passion to support private businesses and their owners in unlocking the full potential of their ambitions. EY Private teams offer distinct insights born from the long EY history of working with business owners and entrepreneurs. These teams support the full spectrum of private enterprises including private capital managers and investors and the portfolio businesses they fund, business owners, family businesses, family offices and entrepreneurs. Visit

About EY

EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, strategy, transaction and consulting services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.

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