Karri Bass, Illumination Research earn national recognition

EY announced that Karri Bass and Mason-based Illumination Research was named one of 12 winners of its 2013 class of Entrepreneurial Winning Women, a national competition and ongoing executive leadership program that identifies a select group of high-potential women entrepreneurs whose businesses show real potential to scale — and then helps them do it.

This year’s diverse class represents some of the best and brightest women in business today. Together, the 12 winning women have an average of $7.8 million in yearly sales, 42 employees, and seven years in business.

Illumination is a market research and strategy consulting firm that conducts customer research throughout the world to help businesses create ideas that fuel growth. The company’s clients include many of the world’s largest consumer products companies and retailers, including Procter & Gamble, Nestle and Pepsi. It has a track record of delivering better and faster research through its unique capabilities and team of experts. The eight-year-old business is rapidly gaining ground, with significant global expansion plans to serve its multinational clients.

“The EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women™ program has had a profound impact on the way I am thinking about my business. It has really helped me to think big and redefine what’s possible for Illumination’s growth – and it’s helping provide me with the resources I need to make it happen. It’s been incredible to find a program – and company – with this level of support for female entrepreneurs,” said Bass, Illumination founder and chief executive officer.

Launched six years ago, the EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women™ program aims to help women entrepreneurs whose companies show great potential to scale big and become market leaders. According to an independent assessment by Babson College, the program is working. Participant companies have an average growth of nearly 50% per year and a corresponding 26 percent average growth in the number of jobs they provide.

“Over the past six years, the Entrepreneurial Winning Women program has grown into a highly competitive platform to help women entrepreneurs accomplish the key goals they have for their companies,” said Kerrie MacPherson, Principal, Financial Services Office, and North American Entrepreneurial Winning Women Executive Sponsor at EY. “Karri Bass is an exceptional business leader with great potential, and we are pleased to honor her as one of this year’s winners.”

The 12 members of the Entrepreneurial Winning Women Class of 2013 received an all-expense paid trip to this year’s EY Strategic Growth Forum 2013, an invitation-only gathering of more than 2,300 high-growth, market-leading company CEOs held in Palm Springs, Calif. The Forum presents a one-of-a-kind platform for Entrepreneurial Winning Women to introduce their companies and share their corporate and personal brands with a community of EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ winners, top executives, prospective investors and business advisors. All 2013 Entrepreneurial Winning Women were introduced and honored at a special celebratory luncheon during the Forum. For more information on the Forum, visit: www.ey.com/us/strategicgrowthforum

The distinguished 2013 panel of independent judges for the Entrepreneurial Winning Women program included:
• Cynthia Cohen, CEO, Strategic Mindshare
• Laurie Cunnington, President, Ward Williston Oil Company
• Leslie Firtell, President & CEO, Tower Legal Solutions
• Harold Mills, CEO, ZeroChaos
• Mike Cohen, Managing General Partner, VGPartners

Since its inception, the program looks to help women entrepreneurs break through the barriers that keep thriving second-stage businesses from reaching their full potential. Once selected, the entrepreneurs participate in an ongoing, customized program designed by EY to catalyze their companies’ growth by building and fostering critical relationships, enhancing leadership skills, expanding business acumen and providing increased visibility. They are coached on the five crucial leaps that are critical to growing their business:
• Thinking big and being bold;
• Building a public profile;
• Working on the business, rather than in it;
• Finding and establishing the right networks;
• Evaluating financing for expansion

The Entrepreneurial Winning Women program is conducted in collaboration with several organizations that encourage the development of women-owned businesses, including the Women Presidents’ Organization, the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, the National Association of Women Business Owners, The Committee of 200, the Kauffman Foundation and Babson College’s Center for Women’s Leadership. For more information on the program, visit www.ey.com/us/entrepreneurialwinningwomen.

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