Dec. 18, 2012
magazine and small business solutions provider
The UPS Store®
have selected the winners of the magazine's Entrepreneur of 2012 contest:
, founder of Adafruit Industries;
, founder of OrigAudio; and
, founder of Star Toilet Paper. These entrepreneurs will be recognized at an awards luncheon during the
2013 Growth Conference
"These three contest winners embody innovative thinking and the entrepreneurial spirit," said
, VP and editor in chief of
"Through their companies, they've been unafraid to do things differently—and have succeeded. They're an inspiration to all entrepreneurs who want to pave their own paths in business."
The magazine's Entrepreneur of 2012,
in 2005 and through it, is educating and inspiring the next generation of engineers and scientists. The open-source hardware and electronics company not only designs a catalog full of cool tech products that clients can order—it gives away the step-by-step instructions and tutorials for them to learn how to do so themselves. Fried's new badging system also makes learning exciting for kids, by rewarding them for mastering new tech-savvy skills, and furthers the educational mission of Adafruit Industries.
, winner in the Emerging category, is a co-founder of
. The design of its audio products stemmed from the desire to avoid lugging around heavy speakers while travelling, thus creating an ultra-portable line that has launched into thousands of retail stores. From the Rock-It, the small device that turns any object into an impromptu speaker, to Designears, the company's new customizable headphones, OrigAudio's innovations have struck a chord with customers seeking eco-friendly sound systems that they can take anywhere.
"Each of these entrepreneurs has developed his or her own unique ideas into thriving companies," said
, president of The UPS Store, Inc. "Their modern perspectives inspire other forward-thinking business owners to pursue innovation and excellence in their own businesses. The UPS Store is proud to support such incredibly gifted entrepreneurs."
The College winner is
, founder of
Star Toilet Paper
, which sells advertising space to companies and prints their coupons onto recycled toilet tissue. The printed rolls are placed free of charge into the bathrooms of venues such as theaters and stadiums for the chance to reach their customers—in a place where the
student is banking everyone reads. The captured audience can use QR codes to redeem the offers for both print and online advertising benefits.
The winners will each share their success stories at the 2013 Growth Conference to be held on
Jan. 10, 2013
, at the
Convention Center. This one-day, complimentary event will also feature keynote speaker
; numerous seminars on growth strategies led by a variety of small-business experts; and many networking opportunities. Attendance is free with online registration at
About the judging process: Candidates were narrowed down to five finalists per award category by a panel of judges. Their online profiles together with their videos were featured on Entrepreneur.com, where visitors could vote for their favorite contestant. The Established, Emerging and College Entrepreneurs of 2012 were then determined based on a point system that reflected the number of online votes they received and the judges' individual choices.