Business Ledger honors 28 local entrepreneurs

 
 
Updated 9/16/2015 7:20 PM
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  • Mark Black/mblack@dailyherald.comKeynote speaker Jacqueline Camacho-Ruiz speaks at the 16th annual Daily Herald Business Ledger Entrepreneurial Excellence Awards, held on the NIU Naperville campus Wednesday.

    Mark Black/mblack@dailyherald.comKeynote speaker Jacqueline Camacho-Ruiz speaks at the 16th annual Daily Herald Business Ledger Entrepreneurial Excellence Awards, held on the NIU Naperville campus Wednesday.

  • Mark Black/mblack@dailyherald.comThe 16th annual Daily Herald Business Ledger Entrepreneurial Excellence Awards honoree Linda Murray of Vista Linda Eye Care in Mount Prospect accepts her award.

    Mark Black/mblack@dailyherald.comThe 16th annual Daily Herald Business Ledger Entrepreneurial Excellence Awards honoree Linda Murray of Vista Linda Eye Care in Mount Prospect accepts her award.

  • Mark Black/mblack@dailyherald.comThe 16th annual Daily Herald Business Ledger Entrepreneurial Excellence Awards honorees Brian and Coleen Graham of Coleen's Better Than Breadstick of Villa Park accept their award.

    Mark Black/mblack@dailyherald.comThe 16th annual Daily Herald Business Ledger Entrepreneurial Excellence Awards honorees Brian and Coleen Graham of Coleen's Better Than Breadstick of Villa Park accept their award.

The spirit of independence and success was highlighted Wednesday night as 28 suburban professionals were honored at the 16th Annual Entrepreneurial Excellence Awards sponsored by the Daily Herald Business Ledger.

More than 200 people attended the event at the Naperville campus of Northern Illinois University.

The annual EEA program recognizes successful entrepreneurship in the suburban region. The honorees demonstrate the best traits of entrepreneurship, including willingness to take risk, drive, perseverance and business creativity.

Keynote speaker Jacqueline Camacho-Ruiz, founder and director of JJR Marketing in Naperville, talked about five drivers that are a part of an entrepreneur's journey: authenticity, vision, gratitude, connecting and innovation.

"It's about taking something that already exists and putting it into another context," she said.

Camacho-Ruiz, herself a former EEA honoree, spoke of how she began her journey at age 5, selling figs from a tree in her family's backyard, and noted in many cases youthful exuberance can be a big motivator for entrepreneurs.

"I probably would have waited to start my company if I knew what I know now," she said. "Sometimes that youth, that naiveness, that childlike approach to things helps you achieve your goals."

Many of the honorees spoke of their respective leaps of faith that led them to their ventures.

"It's a labor of love and a lot of work, but well worth it to help people," said growth category honoree Dr. Linda Murray of Vista Linda Eye Care of Mount Prospect, which provides eye care services for poor and elderly patients.

Wi-Tronix LLC co-founders Michael Heilman and Lawrence Jordan, who were honored in the innovation category, also spoke to helping other through your success.

"The spirit of entrepreneurism in America is alive, and to benefit the charitable organizations that we work is what keeps us going," Heilman, of Bolingbrook, said. Detailed profiles of all of the honorees will be featured in the Oct, 12 issue of the Daily Herald Business Ledger.

Presenting sponsors for the Entrepreneurial Excellence Awards are B. Gunther and Co., NIU College of Business, Focus Capital Advisors, JJR Marketing and The Inland Real Estate Group of Companies, Inc. Marketing partners are MRA, Leaderboard Tournament Systems and the Quad County African American Chamber of Commerce.

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