Press release

5 Jun 2023 Minneapolis, US

EY Announces Winners for the Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2023 Heartland Awards

Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates ambitious entrepreneurs who are building a better world

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EY Americas

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Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates ambitious entrepreneurs who are building a better world.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – JUNE 9, 2023 – 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 the Dakotas, Iowa, Kansas (excludes greater Wichita area), Minnesota, Missouri and Nebraska. This group of ambitious entrepreneurial leaders 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 a special celebration on June 8, 2023 to honor and celebrate these business leaders who are building a more equitable, sustainable and prosperous world for all.

The candidates were evaluated based on their demonstration of building long-term value through entrepreneurial spirit, purpose, growth and impact, among other core contributions and attributes.

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 11,000 US executives.

“Every year, we are completely blown away by the accomplishments of our Entrepreneur Of The Year Regional Award winners, and 2023 is no different,” said AJ Jordan, EY Americas Entrepreneur Of The Year Program Director. “They are change-makers and champions of business and community, and we are so proud to be honoring them. We can’t wait to see how these leaders will continue to improve lives and disrupt industries.”

The regional winners will next be considered by the National judges for the Entrepreneur Of The Year National Awards, which will be presented in November at the annual Strategic Growth Forum®, one of the nation’s most prestigious gatherings of high-growth, market-leading companies. The Entrepreneur Of The Year National Overall Award winner will then move on to compete for the World Entrepreneur Of The Year® Award in June 2024.

The winners of the Entrepreneur Of The Year 2023 Heartland Award are:

Cheri Beranek | Clearfield | Minneapolis, Minnesota

Michele Henry | Face Foundrié | Eden Prairie, Minnesota

Cameron McNie | Hawaiian Bros Island Grill | Kansas City, Missouri

Patrick Hawkins | Hawkins, Inc.| Roseville, Minnesota

Dr. Shikhar Saxena | Milan Laser | Omaha, Nebraska

Jim Mortensen | R3 Continuum | Bloomington, Minnesota

Todd Graeve | Scooter's Coffee | Omaha, Nebraska

Rita Katona, Eric Hall | So Good So you | Minneapolis, Minnesota

Jude Bricker | Sun Country Airliness | Minneapolis, Minnesota

Nay Hla | Sushi Avenue | Saint Paul, Minnesota

Eli Maloley | Vivacity Tech PBC | Saint Paul, Minnesota

Michael Happe | Winnebago Industries | Eden Prairie, Minnesota


Founded and produced by Ernst & Young LLP, the Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards include presenting sponsors PNC Bank, N.A.; SAP America; and the Kauffman Foundation. In Heartland, sponsors also include regional Platinum sponsors Colliers International, Padilla 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. National Overall Award winners go on to compete for the World Entrepreneur Of The Year® title. Visit

About EY Private

As Advisors to the ambitious™, EY Private professionals possess the experience and passion to support private businesses and their owners in unlocking the full potential of their ambitions. EY Private teams offer distinct insights born from the long EY history of working with business owners and entrepreneurs. These teams support the full spectrum of private enterprises including private capital managers and investors and the portfolio businesses they fund, business owners, family businesses, family offices and entrepreneurs. Visit

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