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.

The judges review how the nominee & #336;s company or organization is unique or innovative in its relations with employees and customers. Future plans for the company, which demonstrate the nominee & #336;s planning skills, are taken into account. Other considerations are actions exemplifying the nominee & #336;s skills, such as selection of key management team members. Socially responsible activities show how the nominee has used his or her strategies, resources, financial commitment and creativity to help the community.

Award Announcements

Each regional competition culminates in June with a black-tie banquet highlighted by a presentation of award recipients. Regional award recipients are then inducted into the Entrepreneur Of The Year Institute at the annual international conference, which will be held in Palm Springs this November. The free lifetime membership in the Institute is limited exclusively to Entrepreneur of the Year award recipients.

A blue-ribbon independent national panel of judges selects the national award recipients in several award categories from among the regional award recipients. National award recipients and finalists will be announced and honored at the international conference. One of these award recipients will be selected as the Entrepreneur Of The Year.

The Entrepreneur Of the Year Institute

The Institute was created to celebrate accomplishments of the world & #336;s great entrepreneurs and to increase public awareness of the benefits these innovators provide to our society. Its purposes are to provide a forum for entrepreneurs to express their views, be a source of information, facilitate networking and idea sharing, help educate members, promote entrepreneurship, and commemorate the achievements of successful entrepreneurs.

As a lifetime member of The Entrepreneur Of the Year Institute, each award recipient can declare membership in this elite group in all corporate communications. Members receive a membership directory, quarterly newsletter and participate in local chapter activities. Each year, Institute members are invited to attend the international conference. There they socialize and network with other successful entrepreneurs and can take advantage of numerous presentations and workshops on entrepreneurial topics.

Benefits of Entrepreneur Of The Year

Entrepreneur Of The Year finalists and award recipients benefit from local, regional, industry and national media recognition. In addition, as testimony to the excellence of their companies, the honor is beneficial in marketing and public relations efforts.

National award recipients and finalists will be featured in a special USA TODAY supplement and the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year magazine following the international conference.

Each year a survey of prior Entrepreneur Of The Year award recipients is conducted. Recipients have indicated that receiving the award:

Enhanced their reputation

Improved employee morale

Improved lender relations

Increased sales

The Entrepreneur Of The Year award stands for excellence. As a result, many award recipients have mentioned their award in sales literature as an additional selling point, and use their recognition in public relations efforts as a testimony to the excellence of their companies.

Participation in the Entrepreneur Of The Year awards program benefits individual entrepreneurs, their companies and their colleagues. In recognizing these valuable entrepreneurial activities, the community also benefits by keeping dynamic innovation and commercial growth in the community and by fostering new ideas, new risk-taking and new triumphs.

Ernst & Young LLP is the world & #336;s leading international professional service firm with more than 71,500 people in 130 countries and over 23,500 in 89 offices across the United States.

The Kauffman Foundation is a philanthropic foundation dedicated to researching and identifying the unfulfilled needs of society. Its mission is to develop, implement and/or fund breakthrough solutions that have a lasting impact and to offer people a choice and hope for the future.

USA TODAY is the user-friendly, comprehensive source of information that informs, educates and entertains.

The Nasdaq Stock Market is the fastest growing stock market in the world and is the home of growth companies. Nasdaq is recognized worldwide for listing companies with entrepreneurial spirit and accounts for more than half of all equities traded in the United States. Nasdaq is harnessing technology for the benefit of investors.

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