Source: Mary Alford, The News-Enterprise
Local entrepreneurs grabbed the spotlight Tuesday night during the second Hardin County Entrepreneurial Awards Banquet.
Kentucky Innovation Network regional director Lisa Boone said the banquet is a way to celebrate the entrepreneurship spirit, from young startups to established, successful companies.
The event, which was hosted by the Kentucky Innovation Network and the Small Business Development Center with the help of several sponsors, took place during Global Entrepreneurship Week and recognized several local businesspeople for their ventures.
Taking home the Dr. Robert E. Robbins Entrepreneur of the Year award of the night and receiving a standing ovation were Mike and Dana Bowers. The two currently are managing their most recent successful startup: Venminder.
In presenting the award, Rebecca Wheeling, past recipient of Startup of the Year, said the two are lifelong entrepreneurs.
“They have worked diligently to form their own companies, to create jobs and to promote a culture of entrepreneurism in our region,” she said. “Their selfless devotion to mentoring other aspiring entrepreneurs has been a blessing to so many.”
Dana Bowers said it was an honor to be nominated, let alone win an award with Robbins’ name attached to it.
“There is not a person in this room who wouldn’t readily acknowledge Dr. Robbins is a legend,” she said.
The Young Entrepreneur of the Year award went to Morgan Bateman and Michael Booth of Myo Rejuvenation Med Spa. Taking home an honorable mention was Candace Carpenter, owner of Scarlet Oak Boutique.
“Thank you so much. We really don’t know what to say,” Booth said. “I think we can all agree here that being an entrepreneur is not all the glitz and glamour that some people think that it is. They don’t realize the long days, the early mornings, the late nights, working seven days a week just because you have a dream and you want that dream to be a reality.”
Booth said they opened their business a little more than two years ago and recently announced a second location will open in 2018.
“If somebody had told me we would be where we are today back then, I would have thought they were crazy,” he said, noting the progress they have made would not have been possible without the support they have received from the community. “We’re so extremely thankful.”
The 2017 Startup of the Year award went to Bess Outland of A Sweet Retreat Bakery in Radcliff. Taking home the honorable mention was Michelle Harmon of Family Fun Cafe and Ice Cream in Radcliff.
The Scale-up of the Year award went to Wendy Bellew, owner of Ruffle Girl, and to Bobbie Crabtree, owner of USA Bridal.
“Thank you all so much. You don’t do this without a lot of great people behind you,” Crabtree said.
The Cultural Impact Entrepreneur award went to Kelly Emerine. Emerine created a medication management app, Mom’s MedMinder.
After selling the app for about $160,000, Emerine donated $80,000 to the Hardin Memorial Health Foundation to help purchase 3-D mammography equipment.
Boone said the Cultural Impact award was awarded to Emerine for changing culture in two ways.
“First, the obvious impact is the lives that will be saved through this new state of the art equipment. But, secondly, she has changed the culture of our community by instilling a sense of philanthropy in other successful entrepreneurs,” she said. “Her generous donation immediately prompted other donations from local entrepreneurs.”
Boone congratulated all those who were nominated “for daring to take the risk and for following your dreams.”