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Entrepreneurial Excellence Awards Honor Bruce Winston

By Amanda Morad | June 19, 2013

Dr. Bruce Winston receives the Entrepreneurial Excellence Spirit Award.

The sixth annual Entrepreneurial Excellence Awards, presented by Inside Business on Monday, June 17, honored nine local business owners and the man whose story inspired them all that day, Regent University's outgoing dean of the School of Business & Leadership (SBL), Dr. Bruce Winston.

"Bruce Winston's hallmark entrepreneurial leadership style has positively impacted Regent University over the years," said Dr. Gregory Stone, professor in SBL and a judge of the 2013 Entrepreneurial Excellence Awards. "His ability to operate an academic unit as a business and manage faculty and staff as professionals has left a legacy of accomplishments."

Stepping back into full-time teaching after seven years as SBL's dean, Winston has been inspiring and coaching future business leaders for much of his life. He spoke to a room full of entrepreneurs just before receiving the Entrepreneurial Excellence Spirit Award, giving them guiding principles for business from his own life.

"I learned that getting to your market first is a great entrepreneurial skill," he said, recalling from childhood the bullies who tried to monopolize the best corner for newspaper sales in Fairbanks, Alaska, where Winston grew up. But they couldn't stop him from getting there early enough to sell most of his papers before they even arrived to chase him off.

One slower afternoon, Winston wandered into a local bar with a handful of remaining papers, and managed to sell one to a man for a whole dollar. "People don't buy the product; they buy the relationship," he said. "I kept coming back, and they kept buying papers because they wanted to help out a little kid."

When Winston and his mother moved down to Nebraska and he took a paper route rather than selling door to door or on the street, he recognized key differences. "I learned the difference between a salary with little risk and an entrepreneurial endeavor with more risk," he said.

But the bottom line is about meeting needs, Winston explained. "Entrepreneurs are key players in recognizing needs and finding ways to meet them," he said. "People respond well to entrepreneurs when those entrepreneurs are focused on the needs of the customer rather than their own needs."

Having been a champion of entrepreneurs his whole life, Winston encouraged his audience toward greatness. "Really great entrepreneurs put themselves in the right place at the right time," he said. "They also leave a legacy, not of the monumental sort, but the legacy of what they teach others. We'll be able to leave so much good in the world if we embrace the power of entrepreneurship."

The Entrepreneurial Excellence Awards seek to acknowledge the achievements of individuals whose drive and ambition has been proven by their great success in entrepreneurial endeavors in the Hampton Roads, Va., region. Regent has been a partner of the event from its inception.

"This is a wonderful event with a lot of heart and a lot of spirit," said Inside Business publisher Ed Power. "That is due in large part to our ongoing relationship with Regent University."

Learn more about the School of Business & Leadership.


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