After an exhaustive months-long search and numerous applicants, we've announced the finalists for the Entrepreneur of 2013 contest. The finalists in each of the three categories -- "Established", "Emerging" and "College" -- have been selected for their impact on their industries, communities and employees.
The winners of each category will be profiled in the January issue of the magazine and honored at the 2014 Growth Conference in New Orleans.
Let's get to know the five finalists for Entrepreneur of 2013 in the "Established" category:
David Lekach, founder of Dream Products
Lekach says he founded Dream Products which makes Dream Water, a natural sleep aid, to help people lead better lives and offer a natural alternative to the prescription and chemical sleep aids that Americans currently take. Over the past two years, Dream Water has donated more than $100,000 in products to the U.S. military and has helped veterans find employment. "Our company culture at Dream Water is to give back to our community and help others lead balanced, healthy lives," says Lekach.
Read more of David Lekach's story, watch his entry video and vote for him here
Jonathan Jackson, founder of Dimagi
Dimagi is a technology company that helps organizations deliver health care to urban and rural communities around the world by designing health-information systems and mobile technologies. Jackson has grown the company in the past decade to include 6,000 mobile users from more than 80 active projects across 31 countries with over 60 world-wide employees. A social enterprise, the company has three internal bottom lines, Jackson says, "impact, team satisfaction, and profit [in that order]."
Read more of Jonathan Jackson's story, watch his entry video and vote for him here
Brad Damphousse, founder of GoFundMe
Crowdfunding for businesses has gone mainstream, but Damphousse founded GoFundMe in 2008 as a crowdfunding site for personal causes. Helping individuals ask their family and friends for financial support, GoFundMe's personal fundraising campaigns have raised over $95 million from more than 1.4 million donors. "We're most proud of how GoFundMe has helped those affected by national tragedies such as the Colorado theater shooting, Hurricane Sandy, the Boston marathon bombings, and the Oklahoma City tornadoes," says Damphousse. GoFundMe also provides a monthly allowance of $1,000-per-employee to donate to the campaign of their choice.
Read more of Brad Damphousse's story, watch his entry video and vote for him here
Ahmed Khattak, founder of GSM Nation
When Khattak arrived in the U.S. as a college student, he was frustrated that he couldn't call home without signing a two-year mobile-phone contract. His company, GSM Nation, was born of that frustration. GSM is a wireless company that allows mobile customers to move away from restrictive and expensive contracts by providing unlocked, contract-free smartphones. He is also a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's National Advocacy Council of Young Entrepreneurs, which represents the voice of young entrepreneurs to congressional leaders.
Read more of Ahmed Khattak's story, watch his entry video and vote for him here.
Patrick O'Neill, founder of Olloclip
Olloclip's mission is to create innovative tools for mobile-phone photography. Its flagship product is the olloclip three-in-one lens system is a fisheye, wide-angle and macro that connects to an iPhone. Since its founding in 2009, ollocip has gained several high-profile fans including professional athletes, celebrities and industry luminaries like Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, and Kevin Systrom, CEO of Instagram. Olloclip manufactures its products in Huntington Beach, Calif., and donates to local schools photography departments.
Read more of Patrick O'Neill's story, watch his entry video and vote for him here.