Founder of Bedford-based company awarded Cranfield University’s Entrepreneur Alumnus of the Year

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Eyal Ben Cohen, founder and CEO, Verifile and Dr Stephanie Hussels, director of the Bettany Centre for Entrepreneurship, Cranfield University

The founder of Bedford-based background screening company, Verifile, Eyal Ben Cohen, has been named as Cranfield School of Management’s Entrepreneur Alumnus of the Year 2020, in a ceremony for their alumni awards at The Royal Society, London on 30 January.

The Cranfield School of Management’s annual alumni awards recognise special achievements and contributions of alumni, providing Cranfield with an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate those who exemplify the values of the school.

Eyal graduated with an MBA from the school in 2004. His idea for a background screening company was researched during his time there and later used as his basis for Verifile.

Almost 16 years later and speaking at the ceremony, Eyal Ben Cohen said: “If my story can help or inspire students to look at a Cranfield MBA through a different lens, create a business, and employ people, that would be something that I would feel really proud of.”

Reflecting on the award after the ceremony, Eyal added, “Cranfield is where my Verifile journey began in earnest. With the support of my lecturers and fellow students, a business plan began to take shape as I worked towards my MBA.

“It’s a place that provided me with access to everything an aspiring entrepreneur could hope for, including a strong network, client introductions, investment capital, research resources, and an office.”

Explaining their decision to hand Eyal the award, James Pagliaro, Senior Development Manager at Cranfield University, said, “Eyal Ben-Cohen set about developing his idea for Verifile while studying for his MBA at Cranfield.

“Since then, Verifile has shown excellent growth in turnover, profits, product and geographical reach. Furthermore, the company also implements socially responsible employment practices to recruit and retain staff, benefitting the local economy.

“Importantly, Eyal’s vision gives other businesses peace of mind and confidence when hiring new employees; in a world where good people are key to a company’s success – this is integral. It is for this reason, that we are delighted to announce that Eyal is the winner of this year’s Entrepreneur Alumnus of the Year Award.”

But, Eyal said this award, and others, aren’t just for him.

“This award really is for every one of us working at Verifile.

“While I may have come up with the idea and while I may be behind most of the decisions, without the teams here I would not have been considered. It is they who get on and get the job done, they who deliver the quality products and services, they make me proud.”