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Ernst & Young looking for San Diego's top entrepreneurs

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Ernst & Young LLP is calling for nominations for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2011 Awards.

The deadline for applications is March 18, with the San Diego awards ceremony scheduled for June 16 at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla.

The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards program will celebrate its 25th anniversary this year. Over the past quarter-century, the program has honored entrepreneurs such as Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com, Michael Dell of Dell, Herb Kelleher of Southwest Airlines, Fred Smith of FedEx, Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google, Richard Schulze of Best Buy, Wayne Huizenga of Huizenga Holdings, and more.

"We've been extraordinarily proud to honor men and women who have had the inspiration to create innovative, market-leading companies that have truly changed the world over the 25-year history of our Entrepreneur Of The Year program," said Dan Kleeburg, San Diego's director of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year program. "We believe entrepreneurs are the lifeblood and foundation of our economy. It's very exciting to think about the impact that entrepreneurs and transformational CEOs will have on the way we live and work over the next 25 years as well."

Award winners are selected by a panel of independent judges, including previous winners of the award, CEOs and private capital investors and other regional business leaders.

Last year, five entrepreneurs in five categories from San Diego were selected as Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award winners from more than 70 nominations and included Russ Mann of Covario, Larry Gilbert of Event Network and Kishore Seendripu of MaxLinear.

Nationally, approximately 250 entrepreneurs from across the nation were selected as Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2010 award winners from more than 1,500 nominations. Past award winners have included Howard Schultz of Starbucks Coffee Co., Arthur M. Blank of AMB Group LLC (Home Depot, Atlanta Falcons), Pierre Omidyar of eBay Inc., Ruth Fertel of Ruth's Chris, Maxine Clark of Build-a-Bear, Tom Adams of Rosetta Stone, Matt Szulik of Red Hat, and last year's national winner, Howard Lutnick of BGC Partners and Cantor Fitzgerald.

The Entrepreneur Of The Year program honors entrepreneurs regionally in June, leading up to the national awards in November.

The 2011 independent judging panel for San Diego, which selects the regional Entrepreneur Of The Year award finalists and winners, was announced Tuesday.

The judges are: Dave Alberga, CEO, Active Network; Bob Beyster, founder, SAIC; James Blair, partner, Domain Ventures; Andrew Clark, CEO, president, Bridgepoint Education; Mark Dankberg, chairman, CEO, ViaSat; Peter Farrell, executive chairman, ResMed; Alan Gold, chairman, CEO, BioMed Realty Trust; Robert Kibble, managing partner, Mission Ventures; Russ Mann, CEO, Covario; Gail Naughton, Chairman, CEO, Histogen; Tina Nova, CEO, president, Genoptix; Ernest Rady, director, chairman, American Assets ; Garry Ridge, CEO, president, WD-40 and Gary Sabin, chairman, CEO, Excel Trust.

This year's award winners will be announced at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla on June 16, 2011.

For a nomination form or more information on the Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards in San Diego please visit www.ey.com/us/eoy/sd.

Founded and produced by Ernst & Young LLP, the Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards are nationally sponsored by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.

In San Diego local sponsors include Marsh, Cox Business, Union Bank, The Daily Transcript and the Foundation for Enterprise Development.

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