Entrepreneur of the Year

Entrepreneurs remain the resilient resource behind the growth of the U.S. and world economy -- creating jobs, as well as innovative products and services. In 1986, Ernst & Young perceived the need to recognize the accomplishments of this relatively obscure group and founded the Entrepreneur of the Year (EOY) program. Now, thousands of entrepreneurs vie for this prestigious honor each year.

The idea of the EOY program was conceived by Ernst & Young’s Emerging Growth Market, which is dedicated to accelerating the success of the world’s best entrepreneurs. The program started in Milwaukee, but has evolved into an international event honoring excellence and outstanding success by dynamic owners of entrepreneurial companies. In 2002, the program was held in more than 100 locations and in more than 25 nations around the world.

Chain Store Age became the exclusive sponsor of the retail award category in 1990.

The award criteria include financial growth, firm history, current stage of development, future prospects, business leadership, team management and community involvement.

However, a retailer does not have to be the fastest-growing, most profitable or largest to qualify for an award. The judges take into account an entrepreneur’s vision and motivation as well as other nonquantifiable but critical factors. A nominee must be an owner/manager primarily responsible for the recent performance of a privately held company that is at least two years old.

Founders of public companies are eligible, provided the founder is still active in top management. Anyone who has made an outstanding contribution to foster the entrepreneurial spirit or helped entrepreneurs become successful is eligible for the Supporter of Entrepreneurship Award.

Click below to download PDFs of past Entrepreneur of the Year coverage: