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 ATLANTA, Jan. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Nominations to honor and recognize Georgia's most successful and dynamic entrepreneurs are now being sought for the Entrepreneur Of The Year award. Founders Ernst & Young and national sponsors, "Inc." magazine and Merrill Lynch, have been joined by local sponsors "The Atlanta Journal & Constitution" and WSB-TV in Atlanta in the search for the state's best entrepreneurs.
 "The Entrepreneur Of The Year program not only honors and recognizes the achievements of outstanding entrepreneurs, but also provides a forum for them to share and learn about successful strategies, processes and innovations," said Gerald B. Wilson, director of Entrepreneurial Services for the Atlanta office of Ernst & Young. "A survey of previous award recipients showed that the award increased recognition of their business, improved employee morale, increased their network with other entrepreneurs and directly increased sales."
 The Entrepreneur Of The Year program, created in 1986 by the professional services firm of Ernst & Young, is the country's pre-eminent program honoring outstanding owners of emerging companies. Awards will be given to entrepreneurs in 41 major markets who have demonstrated excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities. Individuals who have shown extensive support for entrepreneurial ventures are also eligible.
 There is no fee for nominations, which must be received by April 9, 1993. Self-nominations are encouraged, as are those from suppliers, customers and others who work with entrepreneurs. "Bankers, attorneys, accountants, public relations and advertising executives and other professionals advising entrepreneurs have nominated their clients and potential clients," said Wilson. "They have strengthened their business relationship and initiated new contacts through the nomination process."
 An elite panel of independent judges comprised of leaders from Georgia's business, academic and civic organizations will evaluate the nominations and select the award recipients. In June, an awards banquet will be held to announce the regional award recipients. These regional award recipients are then eligible to become the National Entrepreneur O Of The Year. A distinguished national judging panel will select the finalists and award recipients for five National awards and The Entrepreneur Of The Year award.
 At a black-tie gala banquet in Palm Springs, Calif., finalists and the National Entrepreneur Of The Year award recipients will be announced and celebrated by more than 1,200 attendees as part of the Entrepreneur Of The Year Institute Annual National Conference. Also, the National Entrepreneur Of The Year award recipient will be featured on the cover of the December 1993 issue of "Inc." magazine and, along with all of the other national award recipients and finalists, will be profiled in the feature story.
 Eligibility and Award Categories
 Owners or top managers who are primarily responsible for the growth of a company or who have shown active support for entrepreneurship are eligible for the Entrepreneur Of The Year award. Companies must have been operating for at least two years. If the company is publicly-held, the founder must be an active member in top management.
 Awards may be given to entrepreneurs in retailing, manufacturing, high-technology, construction, real estate and health care. Other categories include Master Entrepreneur Of The Year for businesses more than five years old and Emerging Entrepreneur Of The Year for businesses less than five years old. Individuals who have encouraged and contributed to the entrepreneurial spirit are eligible for the Supporter Of Entrepreneurship award.
 Entrepreneurs who commit themselves or their resources to help their communities address environmental concerns or overcome social problems such as homelessness, crime, substance abuse and illiteracy may be honored as the Socially Responsible Entrepreneur Of The Year.
 Final determination of the categories in which awards will be given will be made by the judges on a regional basis based on the quality of completed nominations received by the deadline.
 For more information and nomination forms write: Darlene P. Lowe, Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards, Ernst & Young, Suite 2800, 600 Peachtree St., N.E., Atlanta, Ga. 30308-2215 or call 404-817-4517.
 Ernst & Young is the leading international professional services firm with 67,000 people in more than 600 cities in more than 100 countries, including more than 20,000 people in more than 100 U.S. cities. Entrepreneurial Services is a division of Ernst & Young, with professionals dedicated solely to the service of owner-managed businesses.
 Ernst & Young serves more of the "Inc." 500, Forbes 200 Best Small Companies in America, companies having initial public offerings and companies receiving venture capital than any professional services firm.
 "Inc." is the magazine for growing companies and is circulated to 2.4 million business owners and managers. It features news of entrepreneurial businesses, management, finance, personnel, marketing and other issues critical to the business community.
 Merrill Lynch Business Financial Services, Inc. provides a full spectrum of services to more than 300,000 business owners, through 11,000 financial consultants in more than 450 offices nationwide.
 -0- 1/22/93
 NOTES: Entrepreneur Of The Year is a registered service mark of Ernst & Young.
 The Entrepreneur Of The Year Institute is a service mark of Ernst & Young.
 "Inc." is a registered trademark of Goldhirsh Group, Inc.
 /CONTACT: Gerry Wilson, 404-817-5730, or Annette Boyle, 404-817-5172, both of Ernst & Young/

CO: Ernst & Young; Inc. magazine; Merrill Lynch ST: Georgia IN: SU: PER

CM-MM -- AT006 -- 7821 01/22/93 10:11 EST
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Date:Jan 22, 1993

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