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UMKC Announces the Honorees for 26th Annual Entrepreneur of the Year Awards Celebration

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KANSAS CITY, Mo., June 9, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — The Council for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the UMKC Henry W. Bloch School of Management have announced the honorees for The 26th Annual Entrepreneur of the Year Awards celebration.

This year’s International Entrepreneur of the Year is Meg Whitman , former president and CEO of eBay. Meg Whitman was president and CEO of eBay for 10 years.  During her tenure, eBay grew from 30 employees and roughly $4 million in revenue to more than 15,000 employees and $7.7 billion in revenue.  Whitman directed a global expansion that turned eBay and PayPal into household names worldwide.  The companies revolutionized the way goods are bought, sold and paid for online.  Whitman helped create a vibrant online economy that powered the entrepreneurial dreams of millions of people.

The Regional Entrepreneurs of the Year are Bonnie Kelly, Jerry Kelly and Teresa Walsh , co-founders, Silpada Designs Jewelry. Long-time best friends Bonnie Kelly and Theresa Walsh took $25 from their grocery fund to pursue their passion for sterling silver jewelry. They began designing jewelry and hosting parties. In 1997, after hundreds of successful parties and with the partnership of Bonnie’s husband (and Silpada CEO) Jerry Kelly, Silpada Designs was born. The founding trio created an exclusive line of jewelry and the first Silpada Designs Catalog. Today, Silpada has thousands of independent representatives in a multi-billion dollar industry.  The Marion and John Kreamer Award for Entrepreneurship in Volunteer Community Service will be awarded to Julia Irene Kauffman , Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation Chairman, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

Dinner chairs for this year’s event are: Bob and Ann Regnier – Bob is president and CEO of Bank of Blue Valley and sponsor of the Institute’s annual Regnier Family Foundations/Bank of Blue Valley Venture Creation Challenge – and Jo Nunnink , director and principal, Integra Realty Resources.

The Awards Dinner will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 19 at the Kansas City Convention Center Grand Ballroom. A special kickoff reception for EOY sponsors will be held the evening of Oct. 6 at the new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

Proceeds from the dinner benefit the Bloch School’s Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Kansas City’s primary resource for educating and creating the next generation of entrepreneurs.


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