What do Michael Dell of Dell Computers, Herb Kohler, of the Kohler Company which makes sinks, faucets and other plumbing supplies, Arthur Blank of The Home Depot, Maxine Clark, CEO of Build-a-Bear, and Howard Schultz of Starbucks have in common? They were all past winners of the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award sponsored by the Kauffman Foundation which is now taking nominations for the this year’s award.
The Kauffman Foundation has been helping young entrepreneurs start their LLC by offering funding, education, and other support services in an effort to maintain the large impact that small businesses have on the United States.
The Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year award is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year and is designed to honor and identify entrepreneurs who are destined to change the landscape of American business through innovative business products or services. The program began in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1986. Currently, the Entrepreneur of the Year hall of fame includes nearly 8,000 of the most creative and inspirational entrepreneurs, many from companies that we all know well.
Do you need to be the head of Apple, Facebook, Exxon, or other well-known business to be a member of the hall of fame? Many of the recipients of this award were first recognized long before they were known by the public. Ernst and Young, with the support of the Kauffman Foundation aim to identify the rising stars of the small business world before they become world-changers in their business.
Many of the 8,000 in the hall of fame used this award as a stepping stone to larger success. Should the nominated entrepreneur be named a finalist, they receive a large amount of publicity both in and beyond their community as well as valuable network building resources. Entrepreneurs also receive access to sponsors, judges, and guests that may offer funding and other services that aren’t otherwise available to most business owners.
If you know of a business start-up or company who has made an impact on their community or the business landscape as a whole, consider a nomination. According to the Kauffman Foundation, “nominees can be CEOs of public or privately held companies, multi-generational family business leaders or divisional CEOs. The nominee’s company must be at least three years old.”
Ernst and Young with sponsorship from the Kauffman Foundation started this award 25 years ago as a way to award and recognize the nation’s best entrepreneurs. Maybe the next nominee will be you.
Click here to nominate an individual.