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Over the past 30 years, EY has recognized more than 9,200 US business leaders with the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® Award. These pioneers come from all walks of life, creating and leading companies reflecting their origins and spirits. From Silicon Valley tech start-ups to family firms transformed for the 21st century, from business school graduates driven to make their mark to immigrants dreaming of success in America, our entrepreneurs are as diverse as the society in which we live.

Yet these visionary entrepreneurs have much in common. They share the determination to bring their ideas to life, the courage to overcome barriers, and the willingness to forge ahead and risk what they must in pursuit of their ambitions.

These are entrepreneurs who are determined to leave enduring legacies. They each have a purpose. Whatever sector or region grounds them, they will leave their mark on it, reimagining and redefining the way we live, work and play.

We profile just a few of these award winners in this commemorative edition, celebrating 30 years of ingenuity in America.

For example, Isaac Larian arrived in America in 1971 with just US$750 to his name and went on to build a toy empire strong enough to take on the might of Mattel — and win. He tells us how he built the Bratz brand and what’s next for the toy industry and his company.

Then there’s Ted Leonsis. This multifaceted entrepreneur created a multimillion-dollar business before his 30th birthday — but realized through near-tragedy what mattered most was leaving the world with more than he’d taken from it. Today, building communities through sport is much of his purpose.

We also talk to Maxine Clark, founder of Build-A-Bear Workshop. She learned the ropes in retail over a 20-year career before going on to found her own game-changing business — well before women entrepreneurs were commonly forging new business enterprises. Now, she focuses her energies on helping current and future generations of women entrepreneurs realize the full potential of their companies.

When Maggie Wilderotter took over Frontier Communications, she found a company with, as she describes it, “good bones” — but a lack of purpose and values. She tells us how she transformed the company, becoming one of the country’s most admired CEOs in the process.

These are just a few representatives of a community of visionaries who have realized their dreams in our special country, increasing prosperity and enriching the lives of millions. We hope you enjoy reading their stories.

EY - Herb Engert

Herb Engert
Americas Leader, Growth Markets, EY