Over the past 20 years he has successfully established his trailblazing vision of lifestyle tourism in amongst what many believed to be an already saturated market of high-end hospitality. Head judge of the awards, Catherine Brenner, was particularly impressed by Spence's innovative approach - incorporating spacious, multi occupancy villas within a boutique resort context.
A true pioneer of the holiday ownership concept, Spence started Karma from scratch. Since 2002 it has grown, through its attraction to both holiday goers and investors, into an internationally recognized global brand with 15 separate resorts and a turnover of $55 million per annum.
The secret to Karma, and Spence's, success lies in going that extra mile by providing guests and home owners with experiences, rather than just services. To this end, Spence has designed an artist in residence program, whereby singers and other creative artists stay at Karma providing entertainment and artistic input to enrich the atmosphere of the resort. Karma also has a constantly evolving programme for children with the 3 monkeys kids club, providing excursions and activities seven days a week. The aim is not to take the kid’s off your hands for a few hours, but to provide them with a holiday they'll never forget, filled with fun and educational activities.
Winning ‘Entrepreneur of the Year' is of course a real boost for Karma, as we continue to drive the brand into new markets, with more properties soon to emerge in the Caribbean, Fiji, India, Malaysia, Philippines and Australia.
Spence, who started his career in the pop music industry, has always matched his entrepreneurial activities with philanthropy including providing education to at-risk children and providing financial support for rising sports talents. It's a balance which he’d probably argue is crucial to genuine, socially conscious entrepreneurship.
Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year is one of the world’s most prestigious business awards. John Spence's success at the national level means he will now attend the ‘World Entrepreneur of the Year' award in Monte Carlo in June of next year.