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 Heartland program includes Dakotas, Iowa, Kansas*, Minnesota, Missouri and Nebraska (*Excludes greater Wichita area). 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
The independent panel of judges evaluates nominees on a variety of criteria, including, but not limited to:
- Entrepreneurial spirit
- Financial performance
The program celebrates unstoppable entrepreneurs year-round. 2023 program dates:
- December 2022: Applications open
- March 3: Application deadline
- March–April: Regional nominee interviews with EY team and select sponsors
- May: Regional finalists announced; Regional finalist interviews with judges
- June: Regional awards celebrations
- Early fall: Regional alumni receptions
- November 9–12: Strategic Growth Forum; National awards celebration
2023 regional finalists are building the economy of tomorrow
*Over the most recent three-year period
2023 regional celebration highlights
Entrepreneur Of The Year Heartland team
Kansas City, MO
St. Louis, MO
Founded and produced by
Regionally sponsored by
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.