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GLE Co-hosts Entrepreneur Awards for Hampton Roads

By Sarah H. Dolan | June 21, 2010

2010 Entrepreneur of the Year Duane Thompson

Regent University's School of Global Leadership & Entrepreneurship (GLE) partnered with Inside Business to co-host the 2010 Entrepreneurial Excellence Awards (EEA) June 21 at The Founders Inn.

Duane Thompson, founder and managing director of Sabrosa (Spanish for "tasty") Foods Inc., was named the 2010 Entrepreneur of the Year.

Thompson created his earliest version of Sabrosa salsa in the mid-1990s, after returning, hungry, to his dorm room from a college football game. Thompson found that his friends raided the fridge, including the bag of garden fresh vegetables his grandmother had delivered to him that morning. With the few vegetables he had left, Thompson created the bell pepper-based salsa that quickly became a hit.

By 2000, Thompson brought his popular homemade salsa to market, while maintaining the standard of local, wholesome ingredients. In 2006, he founded Sabrosa Foods Inc. Today, Sabrosa Foods is focused on growing its product distribution both locally and internationally and strives to be the leader in the healthy, high-end, natural food products industry while promoting sustainable business practices and environmental consciousness.

Thompson was involved in Regent Students in Free Enterprise's (SIFE) project "Edible Schoolyard" at Norview High School in Norfolk, Va., two years ago. He purchased garden vegetables that the students grew for his Sabrosa Salsa production to teach them how to run a business from planting seeds. The project generated over $1,600 in revenues.

GLE Professor Dr. A. Gregory Stone, who is also the SIFE faculty advisor, was the event's keynote speaker.

"Ask any entrepreneur 'wannabe' why they haven't gotten their business off the ground," Stone said. "They often uncomfortably look away ... and almost in a whisper confess, 'I'm too scared.'

"Terror is something that entrepreneurs don't expect, can't escape, and have no way of preparing for," Stone continued. "It comes from the same thing that leads us to start companies in the first place—some basic, semiconscious need to make our mark in the world, to leave our footprints in the sands of time. It's the elation you feel that more than makes up for the pain you have suffered. That high, like the terror, is an emotion especially reserved for those who start companies."

Regent has sponsored the EEA for several years. The award program celebrates the innovative spirit of Hampton Roads' entrepreneurs by honoring individuals who create successful businesses and have a positive impact on the community.

Other regional entrepreneurs awarded with an honorable mention at the luncheon are: Dr. Tanya Brown (The Center for Cosmetic & Restorative Dentistry), Michael Burnette (Burnette Development), Glenn R. Davis (On Call Holdings International), Gary M. Lisota (Valkyrie Enterprises, LLC), Ron Mann (Stealth Shredding Inc.), James Ramsey (ViVre Medical-LifeGuard30), Paul Rodriguez (NSC Technologies Worldwide), and Jesse Waltz, PE (JES).

Coverage of the event will appear in the Entrepreneurial Excellence edition of Inside Business at the end of June.

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Mindy Hughes, Public Relations

Phone: 757.352.4095 Fax: 757.352.4888

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