At Ernst & Young LLP’s recent Strategic Growth Forum, the largest gathering of high-growth entrepreneurs in the world (more than 2,500), myriad issues facing business today were discussed.
The annual forum serves as an idea marketplace where the best and brightest minds share what works, what doesn’t and what’s next in the wild world of business and entrepreneurship.
One common theme that arose from participants during the forum was the importance of giving back to the community.
Entrepreneurs passionately believe it is their responsibility to help strengthen the communities where they and their employees live and work. They believe that since they have the means to do so, it’s important to carry that success forward and help those who are in need. And they believe it’s imperative to supports causes that align with the missions or beliefs they and their employees hold.
I was honored to spend some time at the forum with Amy Rosen, president and CEO of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship. We spoke at length about how NFTE works nationwide with inner-city schoolchildren to teach them entrepreneurial skills and create the next generation of high-growth businesses.
Many of you might not have made the connection, but here in Northeast Ohio, we have an affiliate of NFTE in Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU). This connection resulted from YOU’s merger with E CITY, a program that serial entrepreneur John Zitzner founded several years ago.
As you might have noticed, this month’s edition includes coverage of the 2011 Medical Mutual Pillar Award for Community Service. We received a record number of nominations — nearly 90 — which represents how companies are working with and supporting the nonprofit sector, how executives are donating their time, talent and money to causes on the boards of nonprofits and how nonprofit leaders are applying for-profit business savvy to make their organizations that much stronger.
We, at Smart Business, were so impressed by the record number of nominees and the work they are doing that we felt we would be doing a disservice by only telling you about the winners. Because of this, we have expanded this issue so that we could tell you about every organization that submitted a nomination.
As you read, we hope you walk away with the same level of new inspiration as we have received.
Dustin S. Klein is publisher and executive editor of Smart Business Network Inc. Reach him with your comments at (800) 988-4726 or [email protected]