PALM SPRINGS, Calif., Nov. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Dr. Patrick M. Byrne, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Overstock.com, has been named the Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2011 Retail and Consumer Products Award winner. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur Of The Year is the country's most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The award encourages entrepreneurial activity and recognizes leaders and visionaries who demonstrate innovation, financial success, and personal commitment as they create and build world-class businesses.
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Byrne was recognized for his ability to spot opportunity in the online retail industry, giving rise to the first online site used for inventory liquidations, as well as for enhancing the online shopping experience. Having carved out a niche for the company, Byrne was able to weather the storm of the internet bubble and to lead the Salt Lake City-based Overstock.com and its sister philanthropic-retail sites to the top of the industry. Byrne was honored at the Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards gala, the culminating event of the Ernst & Young Strategic Growth Forum® held in Palm Springs, California. The Forum is the nation's premier gathering of high-growth, market-leading companies. Awards were given in nine additional categories. The Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award winners were selected by an independent panel of judges from approximately 300 regional award recipients.
"We're delighted to honor Dr. Patrick M. Byrne as a leading entrepreneur and to recognize his accomplishments in both developing a new model in online marketing and in serving the global community through his philanthropic efforts," said Bryan Pearce, Americas Director, Entrepreneur Of The Year, Ernst & Young LLP. "Byrne has made online shopping simple, enjoyable and affordable for consumers everywhere, and he is truly deserving of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year 2011 Award in the Retail and Consumer Products category."
Spotting the obvious
With a PhD in Philosophy from Stanford University, Byrne does not fit the mold of a typical CEO. When he realized that no one was using the internet as a tool for liquidation, he used his intuitive business sense to start Overstock.com in 1999.
Before raising sufficient start-up capital for the company, Byrne heard 55 "no's" from investors throughout Silicon Valley. Overstock.com began with a small staff and only 100 products for sale. Byrne studied his competitors, identified their shortfalls and made sure to avoid those mistakes. Today, Overstock.com offers tens of thousands non-media products and more than 720,000 media products through its distribution channel.
Byrne is committed to offering consumers a simple-to-navigate, high-speed website that standardizes shipping fees across the board. Consumers have ranked Overstock.com among the top four overall US retailers in the National Retail Federation Foundation/American Express Customers' Choice survey for the last five years. Through Overstock.com, Byrne has united producers and consumers with a central goal in mind – to offer consumers a great deal on the products they seek.
Byrne's aspirations are not limited to Overstock.com. He founded two sister companies, Worldstock.com and The Main Street Revolution, which benefits disadvantaged sellers by providing distribution channels that were formerly inaccessible. Through Worldstock.com, artisans from impoverished villages around the world are able to sell their goods to US consumers, taking home the majority of profits and allowing them to make a livelihood from their craft. Since its inception, the company has paid out more than $67 million to these artisans. Similarly, Byrne initiated The Main Street Revolution, providing small business owners in the US a space to sell their goods while reducing their supply chain costs. These enterprises have helped refuel the global economy and empower small businesses. Byrne also advocates for improved education standards for Utah's minority population and was one of the few to voice early concerns of a recession back in 2005.
National Entrepreneur Of The Year 2011 Retail and Consumer Products finalists
In addition to Byrne, the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Retail and Consumer Products national finalists were: Jessica Herrin, CEO and Founder, Stella & Dot, a social selling company based in San Bruno, California, that creates flexible entrepreneurial opportunities for women and features jewelry and accessories collections sold from home-based businesses; Jeffrey Housenbold, President and CEO, Shutterfly Inc., of Redwood City, California, an e-commerce company specializing in digital photo products and services for the consumer and professional photography markets; and Charles Sweat, President and CEO, Earthbound Farm, of San Juan Bautista, California, an organic producer of salads, fruits and vegetables enjoyed across the US and beyond.
National Entrepreneur Of The Year 2011 Overall Award winners
Reid Hoffman, Chairman, and Jeff Weiner, CEO, of LinkedIn Corporation were named the Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur Of The Year 2011 Overall Award winners.
Video and photos
To view video clips of all of the Entrepreneur Of The Year Award winners, please visit http://www.ey.com/US/en/About-us/Entrepreneurship/Entrepreneur-Of-The-Year
Photos of the winners are also available by request.
Founded and produced by Ernst & Young LLP, the Entrepreneur Of The Year awards are pleased to have the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation as a national sponsor.
About Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur Of The Year
Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur Of The Year is the world's most prestigious business award for entrepreneurs. The unique award makes a difference through the way it encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential and recognizes the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. As the first and only truly global award of its kind, Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognizing them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 140 cities in 50 countries.
About Ernst & Young's Strategic Growth Markets Practice
Ernst & Young LLP's Strategic Growth Markets (SGM) practice guides leading high-growth companies. Our multidisciplinary team of elite professionals provides perspective and advice to help our clients accelerate market leadership. SGM delivers assurance, tax, transactions and advisory services to thousands of companies spanning all industries. Ernst & Young is the undisputed leader in taking companies public, advising key government agencies on the issues impacting high-growth companies and convening the experts who shape the business climate. For more information, please visit us at ey.com/us/strategicgrowthmarkets, or follow news on Twitter at @EY_Growth.
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SOURCE Ernst & Young LLP