What does excellence in entrepreneurship look like?  Well, if you want to see it up close and personal, you might want to make plans to attend the 2015 Spirit of the Entrepreneur Awards in Riverside on November 10.  Some 28 Inland Empire company founders and their businesses will be feted that evening – including, drum roll, please…SolarMax Technology!

We couldn’t be more excited!  And that means that a group of us will be at the Riverside Convention Center that evening to celebrate and light up the night – LED-style, of course.

The prestigious regional competition, founded and sponsored by the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship at California State San Bernardino, kicked off this fall with 130 individual nominees and their companies.  SolarMax CEO David Hsu and Executive Vice President Ching Liu, representing the company, are among the four remaining Finalists vying for top honors in the Corporate Entrepreneur category.

A panel of independent judges at the Center spearheaded the evaluation process, looking at a wide range of performance criteria, including company vision, revenue growth,  significant challenges (and how each company overcame them), goals and commitment to the surrounding community.  Nominees initially submitted prepared briefs for judging and peer review. Those that survived the initial cut were then called back for a series of interviews with the panel, who then released the list of Finalists.

This year marks the first for SolarMax in the Inland Empire competition.  Winning the top prize for many companies would simply be the “cherry on the sundae.”  Most feel like they’ve already won.

“It’s such a privilege to even be selected as a Finalist,” said Ching. “When you look at the caliber of companies that make it to this round, you can’t help but feel proud that the judges, all of whom are top-flight business professionals in their own right, included us.   David and I may be listed on the nomination, but this accomplishment belongs to every single member of our amazing team.   We wouldn’t be here without them.”

While that may be true, anybody who has ever experienced sustained success in the business world will tell you:  It all starts at the top.  And, as the judging suggests, we at SolarMax are led by some of the very best.