Entrepreneurial Development team core values:

  1. Entrepreneurs 1st
  2. Raise the Bar
  3. Make an Impact
  4. Cultural Stewardship
  5. Be of Service to Others

You’ll notice that all of the recipients recognized at the 2015 EDAWN Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Awards embody most, if not all, of these core values.

Angel Investor Advocate of the Year: Kathie Priebe
Raise the Bar

A young but flourishing startup community has taken hold in Northern Nevada. OverKathie Priebe the past few years Reno has seen a dramatic increase in startup activity and entrepreneurial support capabilities. Startup Row has emerged in the heart of the downtown Riverwalk District that is now home to over 30 startups, multiple coworking spaces and multitude of support services. The next crucial step is facilitating local deal flow and thanks to Kathie Priebe, Chair of the Reno Angels & a Sierra Angel member, we are starting to see that happen. Kathie has taken on a big initiative of invigorating our local angel groups and focusing on the opportunity that the startups have; and because of her the angel community has been a lot more activity in the last year.


Startup Community Leader of the Year – Kevin Lyons
Entrepreneurs 1st

Kevin LyonsAt EDAWN, we are one of very few economic development authorities that support an entrepreneurial development team. Policymakers often think of small business as the employment engine of the economy; however, new and young companies are the primary source of job creation in America per. research conducted in 2015 by the Kauffman Foundation. We need to continue to put entrepreneurs 1st and Kevin Lyons is a great example of what that looks like. In addition to being a serial entrepreneur, co-founder and CEO of Governance Sciences Group, and a mentor in the community, Kevin started Founders Fight Club with other tech startup founders to fill the “founders helping founders” hole in the local ecosystem. He is also a big supporter of 1 Million Cups, a weekly showcase of entrepreneurs and startups in the community. We are fortunate to have a key player like Kevin in this community and need other talented and experienced people like him to step up and contribute to the entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Entrepreneurial Educator of the Year – Estella Hunt
Make an Impact

Estella HuntEstella Hunt has been crucial in the assisted implementation of new entrepreneurial education programs within the community. This last year she organized over 40 events addressing topics local entrepreneurs needed help with; such as, how to make a pitch, mechanics of a deal, and how to close a deal – just to name a few. These programs and topics are crucial to raising the caliber of ventures within our region, which in turn translates into more deal flow locally. We are also excited for the ASU Startup school launch, April 6th, that Estella will be leading – it’s an online entrepreneurial course, re-enforced by weekly meet-ups, that will be offered to the public through a partnership with the Washoe County Library & EDAWN. It’s leaders like Estella, that continue to raise the bar in our region, for local ventures and entrepreneurs.

Summit VMS Mentor of the Year – Rick Shaff
Be of Service to Others

What do Larry Page, Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates all have in common? Rick ShaffThey’ve all received guidance from mentors. No matter whom you are, where you’ve come from, or what you have achieved, a good mentor is an invaluable asset in business. Rick Shaff has been an invaluable mentor in the Summit VMS mentorship program, as well as part of the Steering Committee, that launched 2 years ago. The program has 15 active ventures and 55 mentors, and within the last year, the mentors have donated more than 1,890 hours of their time –  or to put it into perspective – 4 years of working time. Rick alone, officially mentors 4 ventures and spends a lot of time meeting with the founders outside of mentor meetings. Having served in CEO, CFO, and COO roles in several companies throughout the last 25 years, he is dedicated to helping others and shares that his approach to life is to serve others before self. Rick, that is very apparent in everything that you do, and we can’t thank you enough for all of your time and being of service to others.

n Visionaries of the Year –  Bernie Carter & Brianna Bullentini
Cultural Stewardship


We’ve talked about putting entrepreneurs 1st, raising the bar, and being of service to others – now I’d like to recognize two individuals who have really embodied cultural stewardship in the downtown core. Bernie Carter, the owner of the Old Post Office on 50 S. Virginia St, and Brianna Bullentini, his partner Briannain crime and the Creator of Rawbry in The Basement. Together, the two have created an amazing retail experience in the downtown core that we’ve seen facilitate further development of connectivity, walkability, and an entrepreneurial business hub that’s crucial as we continue to grow a marketable downtown culture. Thank you for your vision, tenacity, and commitment to the Biggest Little City, the culture, and our local startups.


Workforce Catalyst of the Year – The Pack Internship Program directed by Elizabeth Loun
Make an Impact

The Pack Internship Grant Program Elizabeth LounAt EDAWN, our mission is to add quality jobs, to diversify the economy, and to have a positive impact on the quality of life in the Reno-Sparks region. A program that has truly encompassed making an impact and creating jobs is The Pack Internship Grant Program that has been successfully facilitated by Elizabeth Loun. The program provides funding for 40 individual student internships within Northern Nevada businesses, nonprofits and public or government agencies by funding student wages at $12 per. hour for a total of 120 hours per. student. Just this year, local startups alone have employed over half of the students in the program, and another quarter of the startups found the skills of the students so useful, that they hired an additional intern; paid for separately outside the Pack Internship Grant Program. Thank you Elizabeth for leading the charge on this, giving students an opportunity to gain work experience within our local startups, and increasing regional job creation.