Program benefits

Recognized as one of the most prestigious business award programs in the country, the Entrepreneur Of The Year® Awards celebrate the country’s most innovative business leaders. Entrepreneur Of The Year Award winners join an esteemed, lifelong community of transformative luminaries from around the world.

Participation in the awards process elevates your company’s brand awareness through exposure to entrepreneurs, sponsors, judges and guests, many of whom may be seeking customers, alliances, M&A or other growth opportunities. The program credentials you to investors, employees and customers, and gives you the opportunity to celebrate achievements and publicly recognize the contributions of the team who made it all possible.

Entrepreneur Of The Year finalists and winners receive publicity in and beyond their communities, which contributes to valuable network-building. It is not just an award — it is an ongoing community of leadership through access to alumni events, our vast entrepreneurial ecosystem, the EY NextGen Academy for family enterprises, leading advisors, speaking engagements, media profiles and interviews and more.

The program has honored the inspirational leadership of such entrepreneurs as Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com; Michael Dell of Dell Inc.; Jodi Berg of Vitamix; Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines; Fred Smith of FedEx; Kendra Scott of Kendra Scott LLC; Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google; Richard Schulze of Best Buy; Hamdi Ulukaya of Chobani; Mindy Grossman of HSN; Inc.; Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn; Howard Schultz of Starbucks Coffee Company; Arthur M. Blank of AMB Group, LLC (Home Depot, Atlanta Falcons); Pierre Omidyar of eBay, Inc.; Ruth Fertel of Ruth’s Chris Steak House; Maxine Clark of Build-A-Bear; Tom Adams of Rosetta Stone; Matt Szulik of Red Hat; Saeju Jeong of Noom; Brad Keywell of Uptake Technologies, Inc.; Dr. Joe DeSimone of Carbon, Inc.; and 2020 winners Aman Narang, Steve Fredette, Jon Grimm and Chris Comparato of Toast, Inc.

Awards criteria

Our criteria include more than just numbers. Based on a balanced scorecard, awards are given to entrepreneurs who have demonstrated excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance, risk and personal commitment to their businesses and communities.

Entrepreneur Of The Year nominees include traditional entrepreneurs who are the founders and leaders of high-growth companies. They also are transformational CEOs who may not have started their company but have been essential to its success. Nominees can be CEOs of public or privately held companies, multigenerational family business leaders or divisional CEOs. The nominee's company must be at least two to three years old.

The award winners are selected by a panel of independent judges, including previous winners of the award, leading CEOs and private capital investors and other regional business leaders. Entrepreneurs may nominate themselves or be nominated by peers and other business leaders.

Continuing education opportunities

There are several ways to enhance your experience with the program:

  • Schedule one-on-one advisory meetings with EY professionals to help guide your business strategy
  • Attend the Strategic Growth Forum®, the largest and most prestigious gathering of high-growth entrepreneurs in America
  • Attend EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year™ in Monaco, where EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Award winners from around the globe compete to be named the ultimate EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year  
  • Through mentoring, use guidance from those who have been there before you

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