Entrepreneur Of The Year® US alumni priorities

Entrepreneur Of The Year® alumni represent an esteemed multi-industry community of award-winning business leaders who have built dynamic business around the world.

We recently surveyed US program alumni to understand their top challenges and current priorities during this period of economic uncertainty.

Key findings include:

  • A vast majority of survey respondents are preparing for persistent economic instability. Nearly 90% are anticipating continued uncertainty through the end of 2023.
  • Despite economic conditions, 97% of respondents are currently pursuing growth opportunities.
  • Not surprisingly, most respondents are currently prioritizing cash management and operating expense reduction, profitability, and operational efficiency, which will better prepare them to meet sudden challenges or downturns.

Spring 2023 priorities

1. Program alumni ranked the following top challenges facing their organization today:

During this extended period of persistent economic uncertainty and tight labor markets, high-growth entrepreneurs are talent challenged as so many companies compete for skilled workers.

2. Program alumni were largely unaffected by the March 2023 bank failures.

Most survey respondents were not directly impacted by recent banking failures, but many are evaluating whether they have the right number and mix of banking relationships.

3. A majority of program alumni are planning for economic instability through the remainder of 2023.

Entrepreneur Of The Year alumni are planning for persistent economic instability. And they are not alone: In another recent EY survey of 320 US CEOs, the majority of executives said they are anticipating a recession and preparing for the unexpected.

4. Program alumni are currently prioritizing the following measures for their businesses:

As they say, cash is king. And as one might expect when the cost of capital increases and access to it lessens, these business leaders are prioritizing cash management and forecasting and operating expense reduction, followed by capital expense reviews and optimization of working capital.

5. 97% of program alumni are currently pursuing growth opportunities:

Almost all of our survey respondents — 97% — advised they are pursuing growth opportunities at this time. This confirms what we have observed about Entrepreneur Of The Year alumni and other founders across decades: They see adversity as opportunity and dig deep to undertake new ways to grow even when addressing tough external conditions.

6. Program alumni ranked the following as their most important focus areas as leaders at this time:

A dual focus on their people and their company’s profitability is where these business leaders are focusing today. And that makes sense. To continue to grow as they expect, even in uncertain conditions, entrepreneurial companies need both the talent and the cash to position their companies to take advantage of more positive future economic cycles.

About Entrepreneur Of The Year

Entrepreneur Of The Year annually recognizes the most accomplished business leaders who are building and sustaining dynamic businesses around the world. Award winners become lifetime members of an esteemed multi-industry community of entrepreneurs, with exclusive access to the experience, insight and wisdom of program alumni across over 60 countries, in addition to support from EY professionals and other members of the entrepreneurial community.

In the US, there are more than 10,000 alumni of the program, which kicked off in 1986 and has been running continuously ever since.

Learn more at ey.com/us/eoy.

Questions about this survey or Entrepreneur Of The Year? Contact eoy@ey.com.