Thirteen local business professionals have been named semifinalists for Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year award for the Orange County/Desert Cities region.
Among them: Kirsten Mangers, founder and CEO of Irvine-based WebVisible; William Smith Jr., president, CEO and chairman of Aliso Viejo-based Smith Micro Software; and Robert Funari, CEO and chairman of Anaheim-based Crescent Healthcare. There were 26 semifinalists in total.
The group of entrepreneurs was selected by a panel of judges made up of regional business, academic and community leaders and executives. Honors are bestowed upon entrepreneurs who demonstrate their success in innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their companies and communities.
"We recognize the tremendous impact these entrepreneurs have in Orange County/Desert Cities," says Kim Letch, program director for the regional awards. "They are truly on the forefront of the economic recovery."
The finalists will be announced next month, and the winners will be revealed during a gala event June 17 at the Hyatt Regency in Irvine. The national award gala will take place in November, and the winner will then compete for the World Entrepreneur of the Year title.
Ernst & Young, which has local offices in Irvine, has held the program for the past 24 years, recognizing business leaders in more than 135 cities in 50 countries worldwide. It is the world's most prestigious business honor for entrepreneurs.
Here's a breakdown of the local semifinalists:
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