Program history

Entrepreneurs are the engines of our economy — creating new products and services, jobs and unimagined markets that define our future. They have special qualities that make anything possible: curiosity, ingenuity and an unstoppable drive to bring their ideas to life.

In 1986, EY launched the Entrepreneur Of The Year program to celebrate and connect these formidable visionaries. The program has recognized more than 10,000 outstanding entrepreneurs for their vision, innovation, courage, and leadership in building and growing successful businesses — businesses that influence the way we live, the products and services we depend on, and the economic vibrancy of our local communities and global markets.

In honor of the 35th anniversary of the program in 2021, we quantified the impact of the entrepreneurs we’ve recognized over the years and found their collective power is staggering. As a group, they: 

Generated nearly
in revenue in 2020
Employed approximately
people in 2020
Grow about
faster than the U.S. economy
Create jobs
faster than the U.S. economy

Source: EY-Parthenon Entrepreneur Of The Year 2021 Impact Study, Ernst & Young LLP.

Before the tech boom, social media and TV shows like “Shark Tank,” entrepreneurs weren’t often recognized. But we saw them then and have been proud to salute them ever since. These ambitious entrepreneurs are the pacesetters who’ve taught us the power of thinking big, demonstrating that nothing is insurmountable and that, together, we can light the way to a more equitable, sustainable and prosperous world for all.

Search the Entrepreneur Of The Year Hall of Fame by company name, member last name, region or award year to find the outstanding individuals who have come through the awards program. See for yourself the entrepreneurial excellence we've been so honored to celebrate since 1986.

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