Tickets are available for the 21st annual Spirit of the Entrepreneur Awards, which this year will take place beginning at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 15, at the Riverside Convention Center.

Thirty-two entrepreneurs will compete for the Spirit of the Entrepreneur award in seven different categories at the black-tie gala. Winners will be announced at the event. Tickets may be booked online; ticket prices range from $145 to $195 each.

Proceeds from the event go to the IECE’s Spirit of the Entrepreneur Scholarship Fund, which provides grants to the next generation of entrepreneurs. Since 2003, more than $225,000 worth of scholarships have been awarded to CSUSB students with measurable needs who are studying entrepreneurship.

The black-tie awards program starts with networking receptions, where mingling can often lead to deal-making. The main event is a mix of entertainment, with performances by acclaimed musicians and performers, leading to the featured award recipients from categories such as Corporate Entrepreneur, Food/Hospitality/Entertainment Entrepreneur, General Entrepreneur, Healthcare Entrepreneur, Nonprofit Entrepreneur, Service-base Entrepreneur and Small/Emerging Enterprise.

The top entrepreneur from among the evening’s award recipients will be given the Best of the Best Award, which best exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit.

Learn more about the finalists at “Finalists Announced for the Spirit of the Entrepreneur Awards 2023 Gala Event.”

CSUSB students also have the opportunity to participate the festivities as part of the Garner Holt Student Fast Pitch Competition. Every year, the IECE holds this innovative semi-final qualifying competition at the event’s named sponsor’s headquarters – Garner Holt Productions a week prior to the Spirit Awards gala. Up to 15 student entrepreneurs have the chance to give a 90-second pitch of their business idea to local investors.

The students are judged by the panel, and the top five student pitchers move on to the finals at the Spirit of the Entrepreneur Awards. There, they deliver their pitches in front of the live audience, where the audience will vote to determine the winner who will receive the $4,000 cash prize.

The Spirit of the Entrepreneur program was founded in 2003 by IECE director Mike Stull, a CSUSB professor of entrepreneurship, and has honored more than 200 entrepreneurs.

Stull, who also serves as the director of the CSUSB School of Entrepreneurship, came up with the idea for the awards shortly after becoming the center’s director, when he discovered students in the CSUSB entrepreneurship program couldn’t name any local entrepreneurial role models.

Visit the Spirit of the Entrepreneurship website for more information.