GRAND RAPIDS — Ernst & Young is seeking nominations for the first West Michigan Entrepreneur Of The Year (EOY) awards, which will recognize fast-growing businesses in the western half of the Lower Peninsula as well as Northwest Indiana.
The West Michigan EOY program will be held in addition to the EOY awards traditionally held in Dearborn, now the East Michigan Entrepreneur of the Year awards.
The international annual awards program honors entrepreneurs who have demonstrated excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities.
To be eligible, an entrepreneur’s company must have been operating a minimum of two years. Entrepreneurs eligible for the award include owners and managers responsible for the growth and performance of privately held companies and founders of public companies active in top management.
Entrepreneurs can nominate themselves for the award, or their co-workers, suppliers or customers can nominate them.
Nominations are being sought in a number of industry categories, including business and financial services, transportation, technology/communication, retail, real estate/construction, health sciences and manufacturing.
Nomination forms are included in this issue of the Grand Rapids Business Journal and are available via the Ernst & Young Web site at www.ey.com/us/eoy. Forms must be received by April 5.
A panel of independent judges comprised of West Michigan business, academic and civic leaders will select award recipients.
Judges will base their decisions on entrepreneurs’ demonstrated successes, such as innovation, financial performance, and growth in operations and staff — as well as on their business commitment and community involvement.
This year’s West Michigan awards banquet will be held June 20 at the Ambassador Ballroom of the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in downtown Grand Rapids.
West Michigan award recipients will be eligible to compete for several national award categories, including the 2002 National Entrepreneur Of The Year award. National award recipients and finalists will be announced at a ceremony hosted by comedian and talk show host Jay Leno at the EOY International Conference Nov. 21-24 in Palm Springs, Calif.
Past Michigan EOY winners include: Fred Bauer, Gentex Corp.; Lew Chamberlin, West Michigan Whitecaps; Bob Woodrick, D&W; Rich DeVos, Amway Corp.; J.C. Huizenga, National Heritage Academies; and Peter Secchia, Universal Forest Products.
Local sponsors of the West Michigan EOY awards are National City Bank, MARSH, Miller, Johnson, Snell, Cummiskey PLC, Grand Valley State University’s Seidman School of Business, Grand Rapids Business Journal and WOOD 1300-AM.
National sponsors are USA Today, CNN, The Nasdaq Stock Market and the Kauffman Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
Established by Ernst & Young in 1986, the EOY program is held in 44 regions nationwide and 20 countries worldwide.