An entrepreneur is often defined as someone who designs, launches and runs a new business. A risk-taker, an individual who takes a big idea and brings it to life.
On Tuesday, the Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation will recognize this year's honorees at the annual Entrepreneurship of the Year awards celebration. The Institute is housed at the Henry W. Bloch School of Management at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
The awards "celebrate the heart and soul of entrepreneurs," according to Bill Gautreaux, co-founder of Crestwood (formerly Inergy LP) and partner of MLP Holdings LLC. Gautreaux co-chairs the event with Anne St. Peter, founder of marketing firm Global Prairie.
Architect Moshe Safdie, who designed the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, will receive the award for international entrepreneur of the year. Safdie's 50-year career includes projects around the world, from museums and performing arts spaces, to housing and cities. Past honorees in this category include Jim Sinegal of Costco, Brian Lamb of C-SPAN, Meg Whitman of eBay, and Dr. Min Kao of Garmin.
Sandy and Christine Kemper, founders of the financial tech company C2FO, will be recognized as regional entrepreneurs of the year. The Kempers have also launched The Collectors Fund (TCF) and the Kansas City Collection (KCC), encouraging art ownership and art display, as well as YEPKC, an entrepreneurship and scholarship fund.
And BNIM, JE Dunn Construction, Mark One Electric and U.S. Engineering are up for the social entrepreneurship award. The four firms have worked together over the years, including as a collaborative team on the Kauffman Center.
"This year's honorees exemplify Henry Bloch's brand of entrepreneurship — innovative, world-class, authentic," said St. Peter in a news release, "with a focus on giving back to the community."
A student entrepreneur will also be announced at the event and awarded a scholarship.
32nd Annual Entrepreneur of the Year Awards Celebration, December 5, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway, Kansas City, Missouri. Showcase and reception begins at 5:30 p.m. with the awards program at 7:30 p.m.
Laura Spencer is an arts reporter at KCUR 89.3. You can reach her on Twitter @lauraspencer.