Entrepreneur Of The Year® East Central

Honoring the ambitious entrepreneurs building a more equitable, sustainable and prosperous world for all.

Meet the 2023 winners

About Entrepreneur Of The Year

The Entrepreneur Of The Year program has been celebrating the ambitious visionaries who are leading successful, dynamic businesses for nearly four decades. Founded in 1986, the program has recognized more than 10,000 entrepreneurs throughout the US and has expanded to nearly 60 countries globally. Explore the program history to learn more about the impact of these entrepreneurs.

The East Central program includes Kentucky, Northeast & South Central Ohio, Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia (*Excludes Northwest Ohio). Each year, a panel of independent judges selects regional finalists and winners who are recognized during an awards celebration in June. The regional award winners compete for national recognition the following November at the Strategic Growth Forum®, where National finalists and award winners are announced. The overall National winner then goes on to represent the US at the World Entrepreneur Of The Year® competition the following June.

Visit the Entrepreneur Of The Year Hall of Fame to discover outstanding leaders who have been recognized with this prestigious award over the years.

2023 regional winners

Program information

  • Benefits of participation

    • Gain access to a worldwide community of entrepreneurs and transformational leaders
    • Increase exposure to potential customers and suppliers, M&A opportunities, and private equity and venture capital investors
    • Celebrate and recognize your team and support network
    • Elevate your company’s brand within the local business community and through PR opportunities
    • Receive exclusive invitations to local events with other entrepreneurs
  • Eligibility and selection criteria

    The entrepreneur
    • The entrepreneur must be the CEO or president of a private or public company who is primarily responsible for the recent performance of the company.
    • The entrepreneur must be in the role for at least two years by the application deadline.
    • Previous finalists and applicants are encouraged to reapply.
    • Former award winners may reapply if they have founded or transitioned to a new company.
    The company
    • Companies must be at least two years old to be eligible.
    • Companies are most competitive when they demonstrate long-term value.
    • Only for-profit businesses may apply.
    Judging criteria

    The independent panel of judges evaluates nominees on a variety of criteria, including, but not limited to:

    • Entrepreneurial spirit
    • Purpose
    • Growth
    • Impact
    • Financial performance
  • Program timeline

    The program celebrates unstoppable entrepreneurs year-round. 2024 program dates:
    • December 2023: Applications open
    • March: Deadline for completed applications
    • March–April: Regional nominee interviews with EY team and select sponsors
    • April: East Central finalists announced
    • May: East Central finalist interviews with judges, Cleveland, OH
    • June: East Central Awards celebration, Columbus, OH
    • Early fall: Regional alumni receptions
    • November 13–16: Strategic Growth Forum; National awards celebration


2023 regional finalists are building the economy of tomorrow

Nearly $4b in revenue generated by EOY East Central finalists in 2022
EOY East Central finalists experienced 25.6% average revenue growth
EOY East Central  finalists employed nearly 10,000 people in 2022
EOY East Central finalists experienced 37.9% average employee growth

*Over the most recent three-year period

2023 regional celebration highlights

Entrepreneur Of The Year East Central team

Mike Denove
Program director

Shannon Crone
Program director 

Melissa Ungar
Program Manager

Cassy Hubka
Program Coordinator

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Regional sponsors coming soon

Strategic Growth Forum® US

Each year, we celebrate the Entrepreneur Of The Year regional award winners at the Strategic Growth Forum, where national award winners are announced.

Learn more

EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women™ North America

Identifying ambitious women entrepreneurs and provides them with the advice, resources and access they need to unlock their full potential.

Learn more


EY Entrepreneurs Access Network

A business accelerating program for Black and Latino founders, designed to scale their businesses by equalizing access to resources, connections and capital.

Learn more


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