Ernst & Young LLP (EY US) is pleased to announce the winners of the Entrepreneur Of The Year® Heartland Award. Entrepreneur Of The Year is one of the preeminent competitive business awards for entrepreneurs and leaders of high-growth companies. The Heartland program celebrates entrepreneurs from Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. This group of unstoppable entrepreneurial leaders transforming our world was selected by an independent judging panel made up of previous award winners, leading CEOs, investors and other regional business leaders. Heartland award winners were unveiled during the program’s first-ever virtual awards gala, hosted by Deborah Norville, anchor of Inside Edition, on Thursday, October 8, 2020.
“There are many successful entrepreneurs in this world, but building something of long-term value that improves the way we live, work and play takes grit, persistence and a sense of ambition where nothing is impossible,” said Dominic Iannazzo, EY’s Heartland Entrepreneur Of The Year Program Co-Director.
The winners for the Entrepreneur Of The Year 2020 Heartland Award are:
- Atif Siddiqi, Branch (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
- Mike Black, Dent Wizard International (Bridgeton, Missouri)
- Christopher Smith, Kipsu (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
- Mark Fritz and Michael Hutchinson, Lakeshirts, LLC (Detroit Lakes, Minnesota)
- John Thomson, PayIt (Kansas City, Missouri)
- Mark Ties, Perforce Software (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
- Kristen Denzer, Tierra Encantada (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
- George Hicks and Marcia Page, Värde Partners (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
Nominees were evaluated based on six criteria, including overcoming adversity; financial performance; societal impact and commitment to building a values-based company; innovation; and talent management.
Since its launch, the program has expanded to recognize business leaders in more than 145 cities in over 60 countries throughout the world.
“EY is proud to honor these unstoppable visionaries who are inspiring innovation without limitation and fueling growth in their communities and around the globe. They are a wonderful addition to our alumni community of past winners, and we look forward to serving as a resource as they continue to make an impact,” said Pat Cleary, EY’s Heartland Entrepreneur Of The Year Program Co-Director.
Regional award winners are eligible for consideration for the Entrepreneur Of The Year 2020 National Awards, to be announced Thursday, November 19, during a virtual awards gala. The awards are the culminating event of this year’s virtual Strategic Growth Forum®, the nation’s most prestigious gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies. The Entrepreneur Of The Year National Overall Award winner will then move on to compete for the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year™ Award in June 2021.
Entrepreneur Of The Year Award winners become lifetime members of a global, multi-industry community of entrepreneurs, with exclusive, ongoing access to the experience, insight and wisdom of program alumni and other ecosystem members in over 60 countries — all supported by vast EY resources. Since 1986, the Entrepreneur Of The Year program has recognized more than 10,000 US executives.
Founded and produced by Ernst & Young LLP, the Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards are nationally sponsored by SAP America and the Kauffman Foundation.
In the Heartland, sponsors also include Colliers, Padilla, PNC Bank, Salo and Twin Cities Business.
About Entrepreneur Of The Year®
Entrepreneur Of The Year® is the world’s most prestigious business awards program for unstoppable entrepreneurs. These visionary leaders deliver innovation, growth and prosperity that transform our world. The program engages entrepreneurs with insights and experiences that foster growth. It connects them with their peers to strengthen entrepreneurship around the world. Entrepreneur Of The Year is the first and only truly global awards program of its kind. It celebrates entrepreneurs through regional and national awards programs in more than 145 cities in over 60 countries. Winners go on to compete for the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year™ title. ey.com/us/eoy
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