EY announced that Rita Gurevich, President and Founder of SPHERE Technology Solutions, has been chosen as one of 14 entrepreneurs inducted into the EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women™ 2016 North America class. EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women is an annual competition and executive education program that identifies high-potential entrepreneurs in the US and Canada seeking to scale their businesses — and then helps them do it. Program participants are among the top 2 percent of all women-led businesses in terms of company revenue.
“I’m grateful to be inducted into a network of incredible female entrepreneurs who have been recognized for their dominance in their respective fields” said Rita Gurevich of SPHERE Technology Solutions. “I look forward to learning from their example and growing my business.”
Since its inception in 2008, Entrepreneurial Winning Women has spurred rapid growth among participating entrepreneurs. According to an independent impact assessment directed by the Babson College Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership, 2014 revenue for participating companies was 54 percent higher than before they joined the program. Individual participants average 20 percent annual revenue growth, and can have up to 50 percent growth in their second year of participation. Winners also report increased confidence, growth goals, networks and more.
“This program helps bridge the gap for an area we call “the missing middle” – those second-stage women business owners whose companies have emerged from the start-up phase but face a crucial inflection point in their growth journey,” said Kerrie MacPherson, principal, Financial Services Office, and North America Entrepreneurial Winning Women executive sponsor at EY. “By providing the right information, networks and guidance we’re able to help these talented women access growth capital, identify strong business advisors and put the processes in place to radically expand their companies.”
This year’s diverse class includes some of the most promising business leaders of today. They average $9.8 million in annual revenue, with an average three-year combined annual growth rate of 42 percent and an average of 45 employees. Half of the 2016 Entrepreneurial Winning Women helm companies in science, technology and math (STEM) industries, and one-quarter have immigrated to the United States.
Founded by Gurevich in 2009, SPHERE Technology Solutions is an award-winning cybersecurity company providing specialized services and software for data governance, security and compliance programs. Focusing on finding and protecting highly sensitive data, SPHERE has built up an impressive list of clients in financial services, health care, retail and energy on a global basis.
Entrepreneurial Winning Women is evergreen, continuing to help its participants in the years that follow their initial selection. The program offers the entrepreneurs a like-minded community of ambitious women business leaders with common objectives, challenges and paths to growth. The relationships they establish with each other also serve to reinforce their efforts to scale, often getting the entrepreneurs through rough patches and creating opportunities for entirely new ventures with peer partners.
“The journey of the business visionary can be very lonely,” said Lisa Schiffman, Director, Brand, Marketing and Communications, Americas Growth Markets, Ernst & Young LLP and program founder. “Being selected for this elite program provides a vital shot in the arm to many of the entrepreneurs. That endorsement, along with tutelage in establishing advisory boards, positioning for growth capital with the right investors, building infrastructure and effective leadership teams and other how-to’s catalyze the scaling process for these companies.”
The panel of independent judges who selected the 2016 inductees included Pat Hedley, CEO, Path Ahead and advisory director, General Atlantic; Dr. Christina Lampe-Önnerud, CEO, Cadenza Innovation, LLC; Claudia Mirza, CEO and co-founder, Akorbi; and Don J. Morrison, CA, CPA, CIRP, ICD.D. The 14 members of the class of 2016 received an all-expenses paid trip to the EY Strategic Growth Forum® in Palm Spring, California, an invitation-only gathering of more than 2,000 executives representing high-growth companies.
Entrepreneurial Winning Women is conducted in collaboration with several organizations that encourage the development of women-owned businesses, including the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO), the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), The Committee of 200 (C200), Golden Seeds, TEC Canada, the Kauffman Foundation and Babson College’s Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership. For more information on the program, visit ey.com/winningwomen.