Being visionaries

The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year program is a celebration of entrepreneurial mind and spirit. We believe entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of our economy. As a leader in guiding these companies, we feel it’s important to honor them and recognize their impact, while encouraging others to follow in their footsteps.

The economic downturn is a window of great opportunity for those who can harness positive thinking and act ahead of the competition — being visionaries and seizing opportunities. That’s today’s entrepreneur. Expanding their customer base and sharpening market differentiation are the top priorities for today’s leading entrepreneurs. Our current market landscape calls for creative and unconventional approaches — and there is never a right time for starting a new business. Today is no worse than yesterday or tomorrow.

In a recent Ernst & Young Survey — Seizing Opportunities — one of the entrepreneurs shared, “It is times like this that the strong get stronger and the weak fall by the wayside. Focused leaders with a sense of urgency … will prevail, lead and be at the top of their industry.”

More interesting results from the survey showed that most multinationals are more concerned with protecting their current position, while a majority of entrepreneurs are focused on pursuing new market opportunities.

Ernst & Young is proud to honor this year’s Northern California Entrepreneur Of The Year finalists and award recipients. We thank the entrepreneurs that have participated in our 23rd annual program and, more importantly, for continuing the entrepreneurial spirit in Northern California. Also, thank you to the program’s sponsors, judges and other supporters that have made this year’s program a success.

Northern California award recipients and those from other regional programs in the United States are eligible to participate in the national Entrepreneur Of The Year awards, which is the culminating event of the Ernst & Young Strategic Growth Forum. This year’s forum will be held Nov. 11-15 at the Desert Springs JW Marriott Resort & Spa in Palm Springs, Calif.

ERNIE CORTES is the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year program director in Northern California and a partner at Ernst & Young LLP. Reach him at (408) 947-5462.