Entrepreneur of the Year(

Program Profile

The Entrepreneur Of The Year awards program was established to honor entrepreneurs for their vision, innovation, persistence and hard work in creating and sustaining successful, growing business enterprises.

Now celebrating its 11th year, the Entrepreneur Of The Year program is held in 46 cities across the United States and 10 countries internationally. In each of these locations, regional award recipients are selected from nominations solicited from the local business community.

Ernst & Young LLP founded the program and has produced it since 1986. Other national sponsors include The Entrepreneur Of The Year Institute, the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, Inc. at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, USA TODAY and The Nasdaq Stock Market. Joining these sponsors as a regional patron is Business Wire, Edison International, J & H Marsh & McLennon, Inc., and Sprint. Local patrons and media sponsors also provide valuable support.

Who Is Eligible?

A nominee must be an owner/manager primarily responsible for the recent performance of a company that is at least two years old. Founders of public companies are eligible, provided the founder is still active in top management. Individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the entrepreneurial spirit or helped an entrepreneur become successful through business or academic support are eligible for a Supporter of Entrepreneurship award.

All nominees are interviewed and must disclose some limited, recent financial results. Anyone who is associated with a successful entrepreneur can nominate a candidate. This includes customers, colleagues, bankers, attorneys, employees and vendors. Entrepreneurs are also encouraged to nominate themselves.

The nomination process requires only the completion of the official nomination form. No fee is required. Nominations are generally accepted from January through March.

The Judging Process

The independent panel of judges is composed of fellow entrepreneurs and prominent leaders from academia and business. The panel chooses finalists and regional award recipients in several special and industry categories. Previous special categories include emerging, master and supporter of entrepreneurship. Industry categories include, technology, retail, services, wholesale/distribution, consumer products and manufacturing. Each panel of judges is allowed complete discretion in determining categories and award recipients.

Judging for the Entrepreneur Of The Year program is a comprehensive process. The nominee & #336;s background is considered, including special skills, experience and major accomplishments.

The history of the nominee & #336;s company is thoroughly evaluated. This assessment includes the source of the idea for the original strategy, the financial risk involved, innovative approaches to management and marketing and the company & #336;s current stage of development. The valuation also includes a description of the company & #336;s major products and services and how it has demonstrated excellence in its field or industry.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.