About Entrepreneur Of The Year
Founded in 1986, Entrepreneur Of The Year has celebrated more than 11,000 ambitious visionaries who are leading successful, dynamic businesses in the US, and it has since expanded to nearly 60 countries globally.
This program honors many different types of business leaders for their ingenuity, courage and entrepreneurial spirit. We celebrate original founders who bootstrapped their business from inception or who raised outside capital to grow their company; transformational CEOs who infused innovation into an existing organization to catapult its trajectory; and multigenerational family business leaders who reimagined a legacy business model to fortify it for the future.
The Midwest program includes Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. Each year, a panel of independent judges selects regional finalists and winners who are recognized during an awards celebration in June. The regional winners compete for national recognition at the Strategic Growth Forum® in November, where National finalists and award winners are announced. The overall National winner represents the US at the World Entrepreneur Of The Year competition.
Visit the Entrepreneur Of The Year Hall of Fame to search our directory of past award winners.
- Build valuable relationships with entrepreneurs who are leading successful businesses across a variety of industries.
- Increase exposure to potential customers, suppliers and investors.
- Recognize your company’s success within the local business community and celebrate your team.
- Gain access to exclusive peer-to-peer learning and networking experiences.
- Connect with EY subject-matter resources for guidance on fostering long-term value creation.
- 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 may be the original founder, a multigenerational family business leader, or a transformational CEO of a company or subsidiary who is not the founder.
- The entrepreneur must have been in the role for at least two years by the application deadline.
- Previous finalists and applicants who did not win are eligible to reapply.
- Former award winners may reapply if they have founded or transitioned to a new company.
- Companies must have been in business for at least two years 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 2024 program dates are:
- December 2023: Applications open
- March 1: Application deadline
- March–April: Regional nominee interviews with EY team and select sponsors
- May: Regional finalists are announced and finalist interviews with judges take place
- June: Regional awards celebrations
- Early fall: Regional alumni receptions
- November 13–16: Strategic Growth Forum, including the 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 Midwest team
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.