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Ernst & Young seeks San Diego's top entrepreneurs

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Ernst & Young LLP is seeking nominations for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2012 Regional Awards.

The deadline for applications is March 9, with the San Diego Awards ceremony scheduled for June 13 at the Hyatt Aventine, La Jolla. Entrepreneurs may nominate themselves or be nominated by peers and other business leaders. Online applications can be accessed at: https://eoy-nomination.ey.com.

Last year, seven entrepreneurs in various categories were selected as Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award winners from more than 90 nominations. Past award winners in San Diego have included Greg Koch of Stone Brewing Co. in 2011, Russ Mann of Covario in 2010, Polina Braunstein of Quake Global in 2009, Alan Gold of BioMed Realty Trust in 2008 and Tina Nova of Genoptix in 2007.

"This program honors the outstanding entrepreneurs in our area," said Dan Kleeburg, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year program director for San Diego. "These entrepreneurs make our community a better place by providing jobs, developing new products and services and encouraging economic development. They deserve our support and recognition."

Awards are given to entrepreneurs who have demonstrated excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities. Award winners are selected in a number of industry categories by a panel of independent judges, including previous winners of the award, leading CEOs and private capital investors and other regional business leaders. Entrepreneurs may nominate themselves or be nominated by peers and other business leaders and there is no fee to participate. Application forms must be received by March 9.

Entrepreneurs eligible for consideration include not only company founders, but also leaders of multigeneration family businesses and transformational public and private company CEOs. Additionally, the nominee’s company must be at least two years old.

Nationally, more than 250 entrepreneurs from across the nation were selected as Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2011 Award winners from more than 1,900 nominations. Past award winners have included Howard Schultz of Starbucks Coffee Company, Arthur M. Blank of AMB Group LLC (Home Depot, Atlanta Falcons), Pierre Omidyar of eBay Inc., Ruth Fertel of Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Maxine Clark of Build-a-Bear, Tom Adams of Rosetta Stone, Matt Szulik of Red Hat and the 2011 national winners, Reid Hoffman and Jeff Weiner of LinkedIn.

"Entrepreneurs are the key to the innovation, economic growth and job creation that we need so desperately in America right now," said Bryan Pearce, Americas director of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Program. "Our Entrepreneur Of The Year Program is helping to build a movement by celebrating the stories of these men and women whose confidence, tenacity and drive to be the next business leaders are already impacting the way we live and work as well as the revitalization of our economy."

The Entrepreneur Of The Year Program honors entrepreneurs regionally in June. All regional honorees are then invited to the national Entrepreneur Of The Year gala, hosted by Jay Leno, on Nov. 17 in Palm Springs, Calif. The gala is the culminating event of the Ernst & Young Strategic Growth Forum. For more information on the Ernst & Young Strategic Growth Forum, visit www.ey.com/us/strategicgrowthforum. The overall national U.S. winner will compete for the World Entrepreneur Of The Year title in Monaco in June 2013.

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 Union Bank, Marsh, ADP, Cox Business, The Daily Transcript, Scherzer Intl. and Citrus PR.

To get more information, as well as nomination information, contact: Kathy Beckman, Program Manager, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year San Diego Awards, at 949-437-0236 or Kathy.Beckman@ey.com. Information is also available at www.ey.com/us/eoy/sandiego.

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