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Help recognize best Ariz. businesses with Spirit of Enterprise Awards

March 17, 2011

Local businesses play a key role in creating new jobs for our communities and helping us rebound from the recession. Now, you can help nominate some of the best businesses in the state for a high honor. The application process is officially open for the 2011 Spirit of Enterprise Awards from the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University.

Past winners of this prestigious award include such well-known companies as Cold Stone Creamery, Grand Canyon Railway and China Mist Brands, as well as smaller businesses that set a great example. The awards recognize businesses that demonstrate ethics, energy and excellence in entrepreneurship. Winning firms create a positive culture both internally and in the community as a whole.

Anyone can suggest a favorite company for nomination by June 30, as long as it meets the following criteria:

• A for-profit enterprise in business for at least four years,

• Incorporated, headquartered or having a majority of its business operations in Arizona,

• With three or more full-time employees,

• Able to demonstrate profitability over the last three years combined.

In addition to this, one minority-owned business will receive the Gary L. Trujillo Minority Enterprise Award sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona.

The winners will be honored at the 15th annual Spirit of Enterprise Awards event on Nov. 8. Hundreds of Valley business and community leaders are expected to attend the luncheon at the Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale.

Award applications are due by Aug. 12. For more information on nominating a company, applying for the awards, or attending the event, please call (480) 965-0474 or visit

These awards are just one focus of the Spirit of Enterprise Center, which helps hundreds of businesses each year. The center offers companies the chance to recruit and meet with top student talent, while also allowing students to get hands-on business experience. One key program, Student Teams for Entrepreneurship Projects (STEP), matches teams of W. P. Carey School of Business students with Valley companies to help tackle real-world challenges and opportunities. Companies can also use the center to access other ASU business resources. The center is self-funded and utilizes community sponsorships and volunteers to sustain its activities.