The 2013 Entrepreneur of the Year Awards

Of course there’s no secret recipe for success in business, but the stories behind the 20th annual EY (Ernst & Young) Entrepreneur of the Year awards offer tantalizing glimpses of those elusive qualities that set the true trailblazers apart from the rest.

Every entrepreneur starts out with a big idea and even bigger dreams, but these awards celebrate those who pull together all the intangible qualities it takes to not only get a successful business off the ground, but to build empires, create new industries or redefine old ways of doing business.

When in 2007 Shahrzad Rafati had a vision for bringing order to the tsunami of content sweeping over the web, she wasn’t alone. Thousands of entrepreneurs had ideas about how to monetize web content. But Rafati brought a unique twist to the solution, had the drive to implement it and the strength of character to inspire others to follow.

Just as important as vision and leadership are the financial markers of success. When Clive Johnson founded his first mining company in 1988, he was just one among thousands of rock hounds with a handful of promising mineral properties. When the company sold for $3.8 billion 12 years later, the world took notice. And now he’s back at it, well on his way to building his second mining empire.

Other ingredients to success are less tangible, including personal integrity and commitment to the community. When Mark Wolverton found instant success with the cosmetics concept he brought to Canada in 1996, he could have bulldozed ahead, putting growth ahead of all else. But instead he insisted on sourcing only environmentally friendly ingredients and putting people ahead of profits.

This is just a sampling of the business metrics judges looked for. For the full stories of the 2013 EY Entrepreneur of the Year Pacific Region finalists, read on.