On May 21, Next Glass’ Kurt Taylor will give someone a ceremonial surfboard.
This will mark the continuation of a tradition and a new one.
One tradition of the Coastal Entrepreneur Awards has been to have the previous year’s overall
winner serve as a judge and announce the new winner, which is what Pink-Trash’s Kelly Buffalino did last May when she announced Next Glass’ victory.
The new tradition this year is we’re adding a symbol for the award that will be passed along from one winner to the next.
Kids Making It, a woodworking program for at-risk kids and the 2010 Coastal Entrepreneur Awards winner in the nonprofit category, is making the 5-foot surfboard.
Like the NHL’s Stanley Cup, the surfboard will stay with the current winning organization until that group passes it along to the new winner each year. The name of the overall winner will be added to the surfboard each year.
This new tradition fits with the spirit of the Coastal Entrepreneur Awards, which is to recognize fast-growing organizations in our region.
Since 2009, this program has been a joint effort of the Business Journal and UNCW’s Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
Ten category winners are recognized in the Business Journal and at the awards event. At the end of the program, the overall winner is announced.
The recognition for the winning organizations is not just a reward for their previous efforts. It is also a way to shine a light on up-and-coming, fast-growing organizations in our region to help them make connections with potential customers, investors, suppliers, mentors and others who can help them continue to grow.
The end result of these organizations growing, of course, is a more vibrant local economy and more jobs in our region.
We had a record number of entries this year – more than 100.
The number of category winners was slimmed to 10 by a panel of judges, which included representatives from area chambers, other business support groups and this program’s sponsors.
To evaluate the applicants, the criteria used by the judges is whether the organization is entrepreneurial and then which among them would they invest $100,000. For the nonprofit category, the second standard is which one has the potential to make the most difference in our community.
A second round of judges then meets with each category winner and determines the overall winner.
We hope you can join us May 21 for the awards breakfast at UNCW’s Burney Center. To reserve your seats, please go to CoastalEntrepreneur.com.
At this event you’ll have a chance to meet all the category winners and see which one will be surfing back
Rob Kaiser is the Publisher of Greater Wilmington Business Journal, and Ron Vetter is the Associate Provost for Research and Dean of the UNCW Graduate School.
The 2015 Coastal Entrepreneur Awards ceremony takes place May 21. The breakfast event starts at 7:30 a.m. at UNCW’s Burney Center where the 10 winning companies will be honored and an overall winner announced. Go to CoastalEntrepreneur.com for more event or ticket info.