Celebrating the entrepreneurial vision

Each year in June, Ernst & Young celebrates entrepreneurs across the country. The men and women honored at our Houston and Gulf Coast Area Entrepreneur Of The Year program all share one common quality — they have vision. Most have had their ups and downs, many have demonstrated leadership and incredible energy in the face of adversity, and not one of them is a stranger to hard work. But perhaps the most important quality they share is that entrepreneurial vision.

Vision enables these men and women to see possibilities where others see nothing at all. It is what drives them to succeed even when the economy is as challenging as it is today. Entrepreneurs have the vision to see opportunity in difficult times. They are the ones who will overcome the obstacles to start new businesses, redefine companies and create jobs. These are the people who will lead the recovery, because they see the way out.

Ernst & Young has been recognizing entrepreneurs for more than 20 years, and we are proud to celebrate the achievements of these visionaries. Twenty-six awards banquets are held across the country each June to recognize the entrepreneurs in those communities. All of the regional award recipients become part of the National Entrepreneur Of The Year program in November. From there, the overall national award recipient will represent the United States in the World Entrepreneur Of The Year program to be held in Monte Carlo next spring. They will be judged alongside their counterparts from 50 other countries for what has become the World’s Business Award.

The National Entrepreneur Of The Year program is presented in connection with Ernst & Young’s Strategic Growth Forum to be held Nov. 11-15 in Palm Springs, Calif. It is the country’s most prestigious gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies. The forum is part of Ernst & Young’s commitment to guiding growing companies through the many challenges and obstacles they face on the road to market leadership. Panels will focus on growth strategies, including initial public offerings, and speakers will include past Entrepreneur Of The Year winners like keynote speaker Howard Schultz of Starbucks.

On behalf of everyone at Ernst & Young, we would like to thank and congratulate each of the 2009 finalists and award recipients. Your vision inspires us all.

Doug Bogart is the program director of the Houston and Gulf Coast Area Entrepreneur Of The Year awards and a partner at Ernst & Young.