Headlines (Campus Updates)
Lazaridis School of Business & Economics
Two Laurier grads win Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year awards
Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing
Entrepreneurs and Laurier grads Greg Overholt and Razor Suleman were both honoured in Toronto last week with an Ontario Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award for their innovative and inspiring ventures.
Overholt (BBA ’08) received a special citation in the category of Social Entrepreneur for his charitable organization Students Offering Support (SOS). The citation is given in recognition of an entrepreneur whose achievements have driven large-scale social change and improved people’s lives or quality of life.
Overholt founded SOS in his second year at Laurier. The non-profit organization is dedicated to helping first- and second-year students with exam preparation. Students pay a small fee for each help session, with all the proceeds going towards Overholt’s passion: funding educational development projects in developing countries. Since its launch, SOS has tutored 20,000 undergraduate students and raised more than $650,000 through 26 SOS chapters at universities across Canada.
“This is also a wonderful and magical conversation that happened seven years ago at Wilfrid Laurier University,” Overholt said in his acceptance speech Nov. 2. “I was 19 talking to my peers. We wanted to find some way to help students locally in order to actually convert that into support in a bigger way in other parts of the world. And from that wonderful session came this idea.”
To see Overholt’s full speech, you can view it here: http://www.studentsofferingsupport.ca/
Suleman (BBA '98), CEO and founder of Toronto-based Achievers (formerly known as I Love Rewards), also received an award last Wednesday in the business-to-business products and services category.
"I am truly honored to be this year's Entrepreneur of the Year in the Business-to-Business category," Suleman said in a press release. "Ernst & Young has a clear and powerful vision of the values that make companies great, and it is only with the help of our customers and staff that Achievers is able to embody them. I'm very proud of the whole Achievers community, and will continue to lead by these values as Achievers grows and develops in the coming year."
Achievers offers a social recognition software platform that provides performance-based recognition and rewards in the form of points that can be redeemed for meaningful rewards, including Apple, Visa Reward Cards and Expedia travel. Clients pay when employee performance improves, which has led to a 99% customer retention rate.
The company has experienced tremendous growth over the last year. It secured $24.5 million in funding led by Silicon Valley giant Sequoia Capital and opened its U.S. headquarters in San Francisco. The organization also changed its name from I Love Rewards to Achievers to better reflect its value proposition.