Riverside, Calif., November 13, 2019 - Recognizing that "Innovation is Not Enough," and that creating a successful business enterprise includes equal measures of passion, drive, commitment, determination, and risk taking, the Spirit of the Entrepreneur Awards celebrated and honored the Inland Empire region's best entrepreneurs on Wednesday evening. The 17th annual gala event, presented by the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship (IECE) at Cal State San Bernardino, drew more than 1,000 attendees to the Riverside Convention Center to hear the inspiring stories of the 33 entrepreneurs selected as finalists.
This year's award recipients recognized at the black-tie gala, chosen from the 33 finalists, include:
In addition, a special surprise Lifetime Achievement Award presentation was made to Garner Holt, founder of Garner Holt Productions or Redlands. Holt, who founded the company 42 years ago as a teenager in his parents' garage, has grown the company to become the world's leading designer and manufacturer of animatronic figures and ride show and theme park attractions. Holt became the first entrepreneur to win a Spirit Award multiple times, having been recognized as "Innovator Entrepreneur" in 2006.
FAST PITCH COMPETITION
As part of the event festivities, the Garner Holt Student Fast Pitch Competition was held for five future entrepreneurs to deliver a 90-second pitch about their up-and-coming venture idea to the audience and were critiqued on their overall preparation, poise and professional presentation. The top three pitches were recognized and the top student walked away with a $4,000 prize. The fast pitch, which involves students from Cal State San Bernardino, is sponsored by local entrepreneur Garner Holt of San Bernardino. The top 3 finishers were:
- Jonathan Stoneking - Halo Mouse
- Victoria Zachary - Cloud 9
- Alexander Watkins - Stoggo