Cirque du Soleil's Guy Laliberte named Ernst & Young 2007 World Entrepreneur Of The Year



    MONTE CARLO, MONACO, June 2 /CNW/ - Guy Laliberte, Founder and CEO of
Canada's Cirque du Soleil was last night named the 2007 Ernst & Young World
Entrepreneur Of The Year at a glittering awards ceremony in Monte Carlo.
Laliberte was picked from among 39 contestants, all of whom had already been
named Entrepreneurs Of The Year in their home countries. Members of the
eight-member independent judging panel who chose Laliberte were themselves
well-known entrepreneurs.

    Since its founding in 1984, Cirque du Soleil, which revolutionized the
idea of what a circus could be, has toured more than 100 cities and has
permanent shows in purpose-built theaters in Florida and Las Vegas. The
company has enjoyed double-digit growth for more than five years.

    Chairman of the judging panel, Joseph Schoendorf, Executive Partner of
venture capital firm Accel Partners, said, "Guy has changed the face of
entertainment and had a huge global impact. The shows that Cirque du Soleil
creates and performs have brought joy to millions. All of this year's
entrepreneurs were exceptional, but Guy's commitment to his artistic vision
and the passion he has for his work were what swayed the judges in his favor."

    "Guy has taken a great entrepreneurial journey from street performer to
CEO of a globally recognized brand," said Greg Ericksen, Ernst & Young's
Global Vice-Chair for Strategic Growth Markets. "Today he oversees every
aspect of Cirque du Soleil, and his vision goes far beyond creating
entertainment. The company's social action programs support at-risk youth
around the globe and Guy's One Drop movement is dedicated to providing clean
drinking water to the world," he continued.

    "Entrepreneurs sometimes talk about the luck they've had in their
careers," said Ernst & Young Chairman and CEO James S. Turley, "but what we've
seen over 21 years of the Entrepreneur Of The Year program is that luck
contributes little to these leaders' successes. Passion, vision, innovation -
and a lot of hard work - are what make these entrepreneurs and their companies
exceptional. Guy demonstrates these traits in abundance."

    About Guy Laliberte and Cirque du Soleil

    In the mid-1970s, at the age of 18, Laliberte set off from his native
Quebec to travel around Europe, supporting himself for four years as a street
performer - playing accordion, juggling, stilt walking and breathing fire to
earn a living. When he returned home in 1979 he remained as a street
performer. In 1984, the province of Quebec was celebrating the 450th
anniversary of Canada's discovery and looking for innovative shows to mark the
occasion. Laliberte proposed the first Cirque du Soleil show and the company
was born.

    Today more than 50 million spectators have seen a Cirque du Soleil
production and close to 10 million will have seen one during 2007. The
original show in 1984 employed 73 people. Today the business has more than
3,500 employees, including close to 900 performing artists. Cirque's employees
and artists represent more than 40 nationalities and speak 25 different
languages.

    About Entrepreneur Of The Year

    Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year is the world's most prestigious
business award for entrepreneurs. Recognized globally, the award provides a
unique way of encouraging entrepreneurial activity and recognizing the
contribution of outstanding men and women who inspire others with their
vision, leadership and achievement. As the first and only truly global award
of its kind, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates those who are
building and leading successful, growing, and dynamic business, recognizing
them through regional, national, and global awards programs in 125 cities in
40 countries.

    About Ernst & Young

    Ernst & Young, a global leader in professional services, is committed to
restoring the public's trust in professional services firms and in the quality
of financial reporting. Its 114,000 people in 140 countries pursue the highest
levels of integrity, quality, and professionalism in providing a range of
sophisticated services centered on our core competencies of auditing,
accounting, tax, and transactions. Further information about Ernst & Young and
its approach to a variety of business issues can be found at
www.ey.com/perspectives. Ernst & Young refers to the global organization of
member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate
legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited does not provide services to
clients.

    This press release has been issued by EYGM Limited, a member of the
global Ernst & Young organization.

    Photos of the 2007 World Entrepreneur Of The Year are available from
www.kenlennox.com.




For further information:

For further information: Ernst & Young Global Public Relations Kevin
Russell +44 (0)7884 235 847 / +44 (0)20 7980 0502 kevin.russell@uk.ey.com


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