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Ernst program great for entrepreneurs

As I See It

Last week, we announced the “2000 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award” program. This is our first year to be a sponsor and we are delighted. Ernst & Young is one of the top CPA firms in the world and their entrepreneur recognition program is highly respected throughout the country.

Before I delve into the inner-workings of the program, a personal note seems in order.

The spring of 1971 found me finishing my graduate degree at the University of Southern Mississippi. My wife was pregnant with our first child. I had just been drafted into the Army, and I would leave for Fort Polk, La., in June 1971 to become a “lean, green fighting machine.”

With my military obligation hanging around my neck, very few companies had any interest in talking with me about a job. Ernst & Young was an exception. They offered me a job working in the Jackson office effective at the completion of my military service — assuming I survived. Having a job to come back to after the Army gave me untold comfort during a very trying time in my life.

They are good people, and I feel privileged to associate with them on this project.

Now, about the Entrepreneur of the Year. This program honors ingenuity, hard work and perseverance. Candidates are nominated by submitting a nomination form to Ernst & Young. A panel of independent judges will decide the winners. Regional winners from Mississippi and Louisiana will be honored at a banquet on June 15 in New Orleans. These winners will then be eligible for the 2000 National Entrepreneur of the Year awards program Nov. 11, 2000, in Palm Springs, Calif..

“We established these awards to recognize the entrepreneurs who are impacting our economy by creating new industries that will dramatically change the way we live and do business,” said Gregory K. Ericksen, national director of entrepreneurial services for Ernst & Young. “Winners reap a variety of benefits, including improved banking relationships, access to venture capital, local and national media attention, stock visibility and enhanced employee morale.”

Last year, seven entrepreneurs based in Mississippi and Louisiana were named winners in seven different categories, picked from more than 200 nominations. This year’s program has added several new e-commerce categories including e-business, e-tailing, e-content, e-products and e-software.

Owners and managers who are primarily responsible for the growth of a company are eligible. Companies must have been in operation for at least two years. If the company is publicly-held, the founder must be an active member of top management. Self-nominations are encouraged, as are those from suppliers, customers and others who work with the entrepreneurs.

Application deadline is April 7, 2000. Mississippi is blessed with a plethora of entrepreneurs who would be worthy nominees. I hope our readers will actively support this program by nominating entrepreneurs from our state to be considered for the award.

To obtain a nomination form, or for more information, write to Nancy Dickson, Ernst & Young, 4200 One Shell Square, New Orleans, LA 70139, or call her at (504) 592-4845. Information is also available at Ernst & Young’s Web site at www.ey.com/eoy.

THOUGHT FOR THE MOMENT

Those who want the fewest things are nearest to the gods.

— SOCRATES

MISSISSIPPI TRIVIA

The world’s oldest Holiday Inn is in Clarksdale.

Joe D. Jones, CPA, is publisher of the Mississippi Business Journal. His e-mail address is cpajones@msbusiness.com.

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