It felt very surreal. I attended last night's ceremony for the Ernst And Young Entrepreneur Of The Year ceremony in Montreal. Beyond wearing a tux (not exactly my attire of choice) and the usual hotel-rushed meals, the event is quite an... err... event.
Twist Image did have a nomination in for this year but we did not even make it to the "finalist" round (maybe next year?). What amazed me (beyond the huge caliber and interesting businesses that were finalists) was the vibe in the room. Considering these free-spirited entrepreneurs who bucked the norms of society and jetted out on their own, the Ernst And Young Entrepreneur Of The Year awards is very formal and corporate. My guess is the winners were just as "out of their element" in tuxes while making small-talk with lawyers, accountants and auditors as I was.
The big prize went to Jean-Marc Eustache who is the President and CEO of travel group Transat A.T. Inc. - they operate travel agencies, tour operators and airlines (full-service).
This is a very cool event as the winner from Montreal goes on to compete at a national event and then a global finale. It's quite prestigious and the Ernst And Young Entrepreneur Of The Year really does celebrate the spirit of being an entrepreneur.
Celebrating the notion of entrepreneurship is critical in our society. If you don't believe me, take a read of Free Agent Nation by Dan Pink. I actually read a line in The Cluetrain Manifesto that related working for a company as "volunteer slavery" (yikes!).
For the past few years, I have been speaking to many groups on the spirit of being an entrepreneur and it always comes down to two key points for me:
1. I am unemployable.
2. I don't have a job.
I have work that I love and I cherish the ability to do it on my own accord.
So, a hearty congrats to all of the winners, finalists and nominees for the 2005 Ernst And Young Entrepreneur Of The Year ceremony in Montreal last night - may you all be unemployable for a long time.
A special thanks to Jim for the invite to sit at his table.