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RISE Awards shine light on business pioneers

Michael Barnes, Out & About

Staff Writer
Austin 360

Imagine an awards category that combines the following Austinites as nominees: John Paul DeJoria (Patron, Paul Mitchell), Karrie and Tim League (Alamo Drafthouse), Tyson Cole and Paul Qui (Uchi, Uchiko) and Robert Rodriguez (Troublemaker Studios).

Now imagine an awards show in which these certified social superstars, nominated in the category of Entrepreneurial Story, are hardly alone. The second annual RISE Awards, which capped the un-conference for business pioneers imagined by Roy, Bertrand and Suzi Sosa, filled ACL Live with exceptional personalities. Nobody seemed to care much that they were worth, cumulatively, billions of dollars.

They cared more about their ideas. And that their ideas might have made the world a better place, along with, yes, making money. Rodriguez triumphed in the first category and gave the speech of the evening, handing his award over to a young woman to inspire her world-changing goals. The winner for Social Entrepreneur was Jeff Sandefer (Acton School of Business); Innovative Entrepreneur: Amy George (Blue Avocado); Serial Entrepreneur: Brett Hurt (Bazaarvoice, Coremetrics); and Best Entrepreneur: Brian Sharples and Carl Shepherd (HomeAway).

Their stories are familiar to business devotees, but perhaps not to the general public. That should change. I'd profile any one of these nominees any day.

Here are just a few more from the out-of-this-world nominees list: Vinay Bhagat, Christy and Turk Pipkin, Kathy and Patrick Terry, Clayton Christopher, Liz Lambert, Louis Black, Charles Attal, Charlie Jones and Charlie Walker.

The Sosas are expanding RISE to both coasts. I can see why.

mbarnes@statesman.com