ARLINGTON, Va., Oct 16, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) — The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)(R) today announced the winners of the first annual Innovation Entrepreneur Awards, sponsored by its new flagship publication, It Is Innovation (i(3)) and CEA’s Small Business Council. The Innovation Entrepreneur Awards honor excellence in business and recognize visionaries leading companies with revenues under $30 million.
“We had a standout group of finalists for the inaugural year of the Innovation Entrepreneur Awards,” said Gary Shapiro, CEA’s president and CEO.
“Congratulations to ecoATM and GrandCare, winners of the 2012 Small Business Awards; and Sandy Gross, winner of the 2012 Small Business Executive Award. Each of the winners epitomizes the entrepreneurial drive and spirit of innovation that powers our industry and the American economy.” To select the inaugural class for the Innovation Entrepreneur Awards, a panel of media and industry professionals met at CE Week to judge the nominations. From the group of seven finalists selected by the judges, one executive and two small businesses were announced today at CEA’s Industry Forum as the winners.
“Innovative companies like GrandCare are moving our economy forward. It’s a great example of how the consumer electronics industry is allowing seniors and people with disabilities to use technology to enhance their lives and allow caregivers to have access to their loved ones anytime.”
-CEA CEO & President, Gary Shapiro
The 2012 winners are:
- Small Business of the Year: ecoATM – Originally called reMobile, ecoATM was founded in 2008 by Tom Tullie as an automated eCycling Station for eWaste recycling. Its automated kiosk buys back used cell phones, MP3 players, iPods, iPads and game media and provides cash or an in-store credit. The company incentivizes consumers to participate in reselling and recycling to cut down on CE eWaste.
- Small Business of the Year: GrandCare Systems – This innovative company integrates daily activities, telehealth monitoring, social networking, medication management and cognitive assists into a user-friendly touch-based system for seniors. Charlie Hillman, founder and CEO, originally created the system to help his great-aunt live independently. The system connects to the Internet allowing caregivers to communicate with their loved ones.
- Small Business Executive of the Year: Sandy Gross – Gross is co-founder of Polk Audio, Definitive Technology and his latest business, GoldenEar Technology. At Polk he was in charge of marketing and product concepts. In 1988, Gross left for a stint in Hollywood, then founded Definitive Technology in 1990. The company designed high-end models of center channels and surround sound speakers. He retired as president in 2009, and started his third loudspeaker company, GoldenEar Technology, in 2010. Gross is often called upon by other entrepreneurs, in the early stages of developing their companies, for advice.