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The 2011 Excellence in Entrepreneurship Awards (EIEA) program, celebrating a decade of distinction in honoring those who exemplify America’s spirit of entrepreneurship, is seeking nominations from Estill County and across Southern and Eastern Kentucky for the region’s top business leaders and entrepreneurs.
Now in its 10th program year, EIEA strives to promote excellence in entrepreneurship by recognizing the accomplishments of small business owners, entrepreneurs, and not-for-profits in the region who have launched and are managing a successful enterprise.
Nominations will be accepted through June 1 with the top three finalists in each of the four EIEA business categories recognized and award recipients announced on Sept. 12 at the 2011 EIEA awards luncheon hosted at The Center for Rural Development in Somerset.
The awards program is sponsored by Eastern Kentucky University’s (EKU) College of Business and Technology, Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation, and The Center.
“During the last 10 years, EIEA has recognized more than 30 outstanding business leaders and entrepreneurs across Southern and Eastern Kentucky,” Dr. Robert Rogow, dean of EKU’s College of Business and Technology, said. “This year, our awards celebrate a decade of distinction and show the importance entrepreneurship plays in growing our region’s economy.”
Nominations will be accepted in four EIEA categories:
·Business (in existence five or more years with greater than 25 employees)
·Small Business(in existence five or more years with 25 or less employees)
·Start-Up(in existence less than five years)
·Not-for-Profit Entity(in existence at least six months)
Nominees are judged on the economic success of the enterprise, contributions to the community, job creation, and operational achievement as measured by innovative business practices, superior safety achievement, and superior technology.
“The EIEA program is one way to show our gratitude to the men, women, and youth who stick their neck out to start a business and stay with it for the long haul, all while bringing value to customers and investing in the community,” Jerry Rickett, president and CEO of Kentucky Highlands Investment Corporation, said. “But most of all, entrepreneurial enterprises are efficient employment engines.
“Through the jobs they create, they offer true hope to their friends, neighbors, and other area residents,” Rickett added. “For this, they should be honored and supported.”
Lonnie Lawson, president and CEO of The Center, agreed.
“The Center provides opportunities for entrepreneurs and high school students within our 42-county primary service region to receive the training and support they need to become current and future business leaders in our region.
“Since small businesses are the backbone of the region’s economy,” Lawson added, “The Center is proud to be a part of EIEA’s tenth year of honoring our region’s top small businesspeople and entrepreneurs.”
In addition to the finalists, award recipients in the Excellence in Entrepreneurship Collegiate Business Concept Challenge and The Center’s youth Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute (ELI) Business Concept Competition will be recognized at this fall’s EIEA program.