Media Relations

May 4, 2016

Help Honor the Best Businesses & Entrepreneurs in Arizona

Nominate Your Favorite for a Spirit of Enterprise Award

TEMPE, Ariz. (May 2, 2016) — Do you have a favorite business or entrepreneur that you would like to shine a spotlight on?  If so, you can help them gain recognition by nominating them for the 20th annual Spirit of Enterprise Awards hosted by the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

The awards recognize some of the state’s best companies and entrepreneurs for creating jobs, boosting our economy and delivering great service to customers. Past winners include Infusionsoft, Total Transit (Discount Cab), Ollie the Trolley, Kitchell, China Mist, and Sundt Construction.

The prestigious event has become one of the top business gatherings in Arizona and is attended annually by hundreds of Valley business and community leaders.

“Each year, we honor Arizona businesses that positively impact our communities while also exhibiting strong business ethics, positive work cultures and excellence in entrepreneurship,” says Christie Kerner, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at the W. P. Carey School of Business. “We are proud to celebrate the success stories that drive our local economy and also serve as roles models for aspiring entrepreneurs while exemplifying the spirit of innovation in Arizona.” 

Businesses can be nominated for up to three of the six Spirit of Enterprise Award categories. Also, one minority-owned business will win the Minority Enterprise Award. Companies started by ASU students are eligible to win the Student Entrepreneur Award.  Find out about the nomination categories here:

Primary requirements include that a company is:

  • A for-profit enterprise;
  • Incorporated, headquartered or having a majority of its business operations in Arizona;
  • Employing at least three full-time employees or partners.

Student-run businesses do not have to meet the three-employee requirement.

Award nominations will be accepted until June 24 here:

Then, nominated businesses will have until July 31 to fill out an awards application. 

Winners will be announced at a luncheon Friday, November 18 at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort and Spa. 

For more information on nominating a company, applying for the awards, or attending the luncheon, call (480) 965-0474, e-mail or visit

Each year, the Center for Entrepreneurship expands its annual celebration of entrepreneurship beyond Arizona to honor an entrepreneur who embodies the spirit values of ethics, energy, and excellence in entrepreneurship through the National Founder of the Year.

This year, Mario Martinez is being honored as the National Founder of the Year.  Mario is well known in the entrepreneur community for his generosity and determination to improve growth opportunities for our local companies.  After exiting his technology company in 2013, he has been almost wholly engaged in giving back and helping to grow the next generation of entrepreneurs. 

The Spirit of Enterprise awards are just one focus of the Center for Entrepreneurship, which helps hundreds of businesses each year. The center helps venturing students gain access to entrepreneurship expertise and experiences through multiple pitch competitions as well as expert office hour programs. The center also offers companies a chance to recruit and meet with top student talent, while allowing students to get hands-on business experience. The center is a gateway to access other ASU entrepreneurship resources. It is self-funded and utilizes community sponsorships and volunteers to sustain its activities.