PITTSBURGH, June 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Ernst & Young LLP today announced that Rich Lunak of Innovation Works will receive the 2012 Supporter of Entrepreneurship Entrepreneur Of The Year® Award for Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia region. Lunak will receive this prestigious award during the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards gala in at the Wyndham Grand Downtown Pittsburgh Hotel on June 22, 2012.
"Ernst & Young is especially proud to honor Rich Lunak at our upcoming gala," said Kevin Pickels, Entrepreneur Of The Year Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia Program Director. "Rich leads Innovation Works' (IW) efforts to provide business expertise, seed capital and other resources to high-potential, technology start-up companies in Pittsburgh. Over the years, through IW's investments, roughly 160 technology startups have created nearly 4,000 jobs and attracted more than $1.2 billion in private, follow-on financing. In addition, under Rich's leadership, IW has become the single largest investor in seed-stage companies in this region, and one of the most active in the country. It is only fitting that Rich be recognized for his entrepreneurial excellence with this well-earned Entrepreneur of The Year 2012 Supporter of Entrepreneurship Award."
Lunak changed the upfront process of engaging with Innovation Works to make the funding accessible on the entrepreneur's schedule and has assembled a team of seasoned experts who have walked in the shoes of the entrepreneurs they advise. Rich says frequently – and the IW team believes wholeheartedly – "we succeed when our partners succeed."
Lunak oversaw the expansion of new programs to speed the commercialization of university innovation, partnering with Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). Together, CMU and IW competed and won one of six federal grants to create a replicable program to accelerate the commercialization of federally funded research, the Agile Innovation System.
The Agile Innovation System is modeled after another innovative program Lunak launched, the Alpha Lab – a startup accelerator created to help make entrepreneurship more accessible, by providing modest investment and mentoring assistance. It is programs such as Alpha Lab and work with universities that has helped Innovation Works to attain national and international recognition.
The Entrepreneur Of The Year program, now in its 26th year, celebrates entrepreneurs who have demonstrated excellence and extraordinary success in such areas as innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities. In 2011 alone, the EOY nominees from Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia employed over 40,000 people and generated more than $10 billion in annual revenue.
Founded and produced by Ernst & Young LLP, the Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards are nationally sponsored by SAP America and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
In Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia, sponsors include PNC, ParenteBeard, Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney PC and Smart Business Network.
About Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year®
Ernst & Young 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 more than 50 countries.
About Ernst & Young
Ernst & Young is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. Worldwide, our 152,000 people are united by our shared values and an unwavering commitment to quality. We make a difference by helping our people, our clients and our wider communities achieve potential.
For more information, please visit www.ey.com
Ernst & Young refers to the global organization of member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients.
This news release has been issued by Ernst & Young LLP, a client-serving member firm of Ernst & Young Global Limited located in the US.
For information on attending the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia awards contact: Melissa Ungar at +1 412 644 7888 or [email protected]. For more information on the Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards in Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia visit www.ey.com/US/WPA_WV_EOY.
SOURCE Ernst & Young