EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ 2014 Greater Los Angeles Awards

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Retail & Consumer Products

WINNER

los_eoy_RobFujiokaRobb Fujioka
Founder and president

 

 

 

los_eoy_JimMitchellJim Mitchell
CEO
Fuhu, Inc.
www.fuhu.com

 

Robb Fujioka and Jim Mitchell are fathers who happen to have a knack for innovation and sophisticated technology. These qualities have lent themselves well to Fuhu, Inc., a Los Angeles startup company that has grown into a business with five global offices. Fujioka, the founder and president of Fuhu, and Mitchell, the CEO, each bring their business savvy, vision and first-hand experience as parents to the company, as well as their ability to deliver high-performing products.
Over the last two years, Fuhu successfully established a new market — devices such as the nabi tablet that are on par with adult technology but created specifically for children. Mitchell and Fujioka have excelled in creating this new market and driving demand for their products through partnerships with technology giants like Foxconn, NVIDIA and Intel; retail titans like Wal-Mart and Target; and moguls like DreamWorks, that have enabled Fuhu to create groundbreaking products that have performed well at retail.
The company culture fosters new ideas, empowerment and philanthropy. Fujioka, Mitchell and the rest of the management team challenge employees at all levels to be ambitious and creative, aiming to disrupt industries and create new ones. In addition, Fuhu launched the philanthropic nabi Inspire program to help families living with Autism and raise awareness. The company has built a team dedicated to this cause to provide access to Fuhu’s nabi tablets through discounting and gifting programs as well as securing low cost and free autism-friendly apps.
Under Fujioka and Mitchell’s leadership, Fuhu plans to launch a highly-anticipated new premium tablet, The DreamTab (in collaboration with DreamWorks Animation), with exciting new product innovations, a cutting-edge new operating system and compelling original content and e-commerce experience.
Fujioka and Mitchell have built Fuhu into Forbes Most Promising Company in America in 2014 as well as Inc.’s 5000 Fastest Growing Company in America in 2013.


FINALISTS

los_eoy_JeffPlattJeff Platt
CEO
SkyZone
www.skyzone.com

 

When Jeff Platt and his father decided to launch Sky Zone, an all-walled trampoline park, nothing like it had ever been done before. At 22 years old, Platt was concerned that investors wouldn’t take him or his idea seriously, but his drive and passion were evident and soon he was able to open his first location in Las Vegas.
The immediate success of Sky Zone allowed for another location to open in St. Louis shortly after the first, and the concept was soon franchised both domestically and internationally. At age 26, Platt took over as CEO and built respect and credibility with no prior experience running a company. He put everything Sky Zone earned back into the company so that it would continue to grow and improve.
Platt strives to hire employees who are actively trying to build and improve the company, and he helps them by empowering them to be creative, to be different and to be accountable. He gives them the freedom to implement ideas to make Sky Zone a better business. He teaches them not to be afraid of failure because trial and error leads to success.
Platt visits each park and rewards hard workers by giving them the opportunity to advance within the company. In addition, every corporate employee is given an allowance for personal development that they can use to attend seminars, purchase books, etc. Platt believes that by investing in his team members, he is indirectly investing in the future of the company.
Each Sky Zone donates thousands of free passes to schools so that kids can experience the fun and exercise that Sky Zone offers. Each location also supports the American Heart Association through donations and contributions.


los_eoy_DavidDresslerDavid Dressler

 

 

 

los_eoy_MattLymanMatt Lyman

 

 

 

los_eoy_ErikOberholtzerErik Oberholtzer
co-founders and owners
Tender Greens
www.tendergreens.com

 

Erik Oberholtzer, David Dressler and Matt Lyman built their restaurant, Tender Greens, on the belief that real, good, whole food should be accessible to all, and not just the privileged.
Tender Greens is a fast casual restaurant that serves healthy, organic food at an affordable price. The chefs are given the freedom to create daily specials inspired by seasonal ingredients in addition to the core menu. The daily specials are the same dishes you’d see on a fine dining menu for $25 a plate, but offered at just $11.
Founded in 2006, co-owners Oberholtzer, Dressler and Lyman opened their first restaurant on a not-so-nice street in Culver City, California. Tired of the corporate rat race and cooking dishes for the 1 percent, they saw a gap in the marketplace for a neighborhood restaurant that served the type of food they wanted to eat on their days off at prices they could afford — fresh, farmer’s market-inspired and healthy.
Oberholtzer, Dressler and Lyman put all of their money on the line to open their dream restaurant, and it worked. When they opened their first restaurant on their first day, they ran out of food by 7 p.m. because customer lines extended out the door during the entire debut. As they found success, the single location grew into 12 with plans for 30 by 2016.
To protect Tender Greens and secure a stable foundation, the owners forged a partnership with Scarborough Farms, a local organic farm that is an investor in the company, forming the first partnership of its kind in the industry.
Tender Greens has created a six-month culinary internship for at-risk foster youth called the Sustainable Life Project, which consists of on-the-job training and farm field trips. When it comes to their own chefs, Oberholtzer, Dressler and Lyman encourage and give them the freedom to explore and pursue their own passions to fuel their creativity and entrepreneurial spirit.