What do award-winning entrepreneurs have in common? The three here won the Entrepreneur.com Entrepreneur of the Year awards for 2010. They accepted the awards last Thursday at the Entrepreneur.com Third Annual Growth Conference, held this year in Atlanta. For each of them there was a short video and a short talk. I was in the audience, and I was impressed:

  • Daniel Lubetzky of KIND Healthy Snacks won the award for 2010 Entrepreneur of the Year. His video is available right now on Entrepreneur.com. He told a great story of building a company around values – “all natural whole nut and fruit bars made from ingredients you can see and pronounce” – and building the company the old-fashioned way, hard work, pounding the pavement, marching around New York, going store by store to generate a channel of distribution. The company started in 2003 and passed $30 million sales last year. Daniel’s key to success, as he said accepting the award, was “trust my team.” You can click here for more on Daniel and KIND.
  • Derek Zobrist of Enovative Kontrol Systems won the award for the 2010 Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year. He has three employees and sales of just a few hundred thousand dollars annually, selling control systems that save energy as retrofits to hot water systems. He cited persistence as his key to success. Derek is 21 years old. He came up with a system using additional sensors and links to computers to manage standing hot water better. As he accepted the award, he shared that his small startup had been on the brink of disaster when it landed a contract with a major hotel chain. You can click here for more on Derek and Enovative.
  • Allen Kim, co-founder of Bebarang, a student at the University of Michigan, won the College Entrepreneur of the Year. He described his company as “Netflix for baby clothes.” His key to success is making a difference, helping parents solve a problem. He also gave a lot of credit to his co-founder and others on the team, and talked about how the idea started with watching his sister dealing with the problem and expense of keeping clothes on her baby daughter. Click here for more about Allen and Bebarang.

The backgrounds, and particularly the videos on these three, are good examples of what makes startups tick. Entrepreneur has made the entry videos, which were vital for selecting the winner (by popular vote), available on the site. Enjoy.

(Images: from entrepreneur.com)

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Tim BerryTim Berry
Tim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Bplans.com. Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.