Events > Innovation Entrepreneur Awards


Small Business Executive of the Year

Hong Lip Yow grew up in Malaysia and was influenced by his Chinese immigrant father, who ran a lumber shop and taught him about responsibility to the local community and his employees. Yow draws on those origins to create a vibrant culture at Trident Case, which is excelling at creating local jobs, charitable partnerships, as well as innovative products. Currently Trident’s Made in the USA program accounts for half of the products, and Yow expects that to increase to a majority of the product line next year. In addition to his role as CEO, he contributes to a number of non-profit charities.

Small Business of the Year

AcousticSheep  – Family physician, Dr. Wei-shin Lai, struggled to fall back asleep after late night patient phone calls. She tried listening to relaxing music in bed, but there were no headphones or earbuds comfortable enough for sleeping. With no product in the market that fit her needs, she worked with her husband, Jason Wolfe, to create a unique solution, SleepPhones. The company strives to create a world of happy, healthy, well-rested people with their ‘sleep category’ of headphones. The company also has an app with soothing sounds and the next app in development senses when you’re restless and works harder to help you sleep.

Startup of the Year

Paper Battery Company has developed an innovative supercapacitor-based energy storage and battery enhancement technology. The Paper Battery advantage is delivering peak pulse currents in very small devices, such as when a smartphone makes contact with a cell tower or when a camera emits a high-powered flash. Their ultrathin supercapacitors allow a new approach to power and energy management that promises to improve significantly availability, safety and battery life in today’s consumer electronics.

Startup of the Year

Whistle Sports Network is a social sports network designed to entertain, inspire, and equip today’s young millennial generation of fans and athletes. Its social media platforms include 285 YouTube Channels, more than 76,000 videos, and three billion views. With a foundation of strong partnerships including the NFL, MLB, PGA Tour and NASCAR, they have revolutionized how sports fans consume and produce sports media. They stand apart by disrupting the way sports content is created with unexpected, quirky content that engages their online community of millennial consumers.