And the winner is……
The 2014 Business Person of the Year awards luncheon was a smashing success. Attended by more than 400 people at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in downtown Atlanta, the event, co-hosted by the Metro Atlanta Chamber (MAC) and the Atlanta Business Chronicle, highlighted the entrepreneurial and innovative efforts of 12 businesses in metro Atlanta. The companies span virtually all industries – from mobile phone applications and building/construction materials to restaurants and lip balm.
I had the honor of being one of the presenters during the event, and the energy in the room and enthusiasm from the crowd was amazing. People like to see great things happen to great people, cheer their friends on and be inspired by hardworking people with big dreams and bright ideas.
The Business Person of the Year awards recognize a winner in each of three categories: early-stage entrepreneur (one to three years in business); emerging entrepreneur (three to seven years in business) and experienced entrepreneur (seven or more years in business).
MAC received more than 100 applications and narrowed the competition down to 12 finalists. We look at a variety of factors when judging the applicants, as my colleagues discussed in previous columns. Ultimately, we felt this year’s winners reflected the drive, innovation, growth and success to earn the title, “Business Person of the Year.”
The winners by category are:
- Early-Stage Entrepreneur (1-3 years) – Kyle Porter, CEO, Salesloft
- Emerging Entrepreneur (3-7 years) – Jim Hall, Owner, Water Shadow Enterprises, LLC
- Experienced Entrepreneur (7+ years ) – Ryan Turner, CEO & Founding Partner, Unsukay Community of Businesses
Did you miss all the action? Watch the BPOTY finalists, in their own words:
Business Person of the Year 2014 – Meet the Finalists
Business Person of the Year 2014 – Behind the Scenes
And don’t forget to check out the slideshow from the event!
In 2013, MAC introduced a fourth category, Startups to Watch, a unique group of entrepreneurs that have flourished out of our local universities. These companies are in their early stages of business and are less than a year old. These organizations are producing unique and innovative ideas that will help drive metro Atlanta’s entrepreneurial ecoystem. This year we recognized five “Startups to Watch”:
- Abby Med, LLC – Stephen Snowdy, CEO; Emory University
- Bright Idea Energy Solutions, LLC – Jett Hattaway, Director of Operations; Kennesaw State University
- CoolMathGames.com – Michael Gargiulo, Owner; University of Georgia
- Niche Video Media, LLC – Rajesh Rajasekar, CEO; Georgia State University
- SafiChoo – Jasmine Burton, CEO; Georgia Tech
Congratulations to all the winners!
Mike Russell is chair of MAC’s Business Growth Advisory Board, and a member of the Business Person of the Year judging committee.