AUSTIN, TX – Sweet Leaf Tea Company’s Founder & CEO, Clayton Christopher, received the 2006 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award for the Central Texas Region on June 1, 2006. Christopher is now one of 31 finalists for the National EOY Award. Past recipients of the Central Texas award that have gone on to win the national award include Michael Dell of Dell Computer Corporation and John Mackey of Whole Foods, Inc. Other national winners include Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com and Sergey Brin and Larry Page of Google, Inc. “I wouldn’t trade places with anyone in the food & beverage industry”, says Christopher. “It is such a fun place to be. Any challenges are far surpassed by unlimited opportunities for creativity.”
Since Sweet Leaf Tea’s inception, Christopher has consistently found new ways to raise the bar in an extremely competitive and innovative industry. He has taken risks to move his business forward and discovered venturesome avenues to acquire the necessary capital resources to grow Sweet Leaf Tea, a company that has taken great strides since the days when Christopher used to hand deliver a perishable product in an old delivery van with 300,000 miles under its (fan) belt. Christopher also plays an active role in community and national charities such as Big Brothers and Sisters of Central Texas, AIDS Services, Susan G. Komen Foundation, Caritas and the Lance Armstrong Foundation.
The first Ernst & Young entrepreneurial program began in 1986 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and has grown to twenty six United States regions and thirty five countries around the globe. Twenty years ago Ernst and Young defined the term entrepreneur as “the leaders and creators who build and sustain world-class businesses that are a testament to vision, leadership, achievement and social responsibility.” These are the criteria that define the qualities sought when selecting recipients of the award. “Ernst & Young is proud of its history in recognizing outstanding leaders and their companies,” said Don Calvin, Ernst & Young partner and Entrepreneur Of The Year program director for Central Texas. “As the CEO of a successful, high-growth company, Clayton Christopher is an excellent representative for Austin.”
The judges of the annual competition are regional and national entrepreneurs and prominent leaders from academia, business and the media. Nominees for Entrepreneur of the Year are based on the quality and quantity of nominations received. On November 19th, the thirty-one contenders will go on to compete in the national honors in Palm Springs.
About Sweet Leaf Tea
Sweet Leaf Tea is one of the fastest growing food & beverage companies in the U.S. Consumers can buy Sweet Leaf Tea products at many grocery and retail outlets, including 7-Eleven, HEB, Kroger, Whole Foods, Wild Oats, Albertson’s, Walgreen’s, Walmart, and Central Market. Sweet Leaf Tea produces eight flavors of tea in 16 ounce bottles: Original, Mint & Honey Green, Peach, Raspberry, Lemon & Lime Unsweetened, Hibiscus, Diet Original and Diet Peach. The company’s new 64oz package comes in top sellers: Original, Mint & Honey Green and Diet Original. For more information about the company and its products, visit www.sweetleaftea.com.
About Ernst & Young
Ernst & Young, a global leader in professional services, is committed to restoring the public’s trust in professional services firms and in the quality of financial reporting. Its 107,000 people in 140 countries pursue the highest levels of integrity, quality and professionalism in providing a range of sophisticated services centered on our core competencies of auditing, accounting, tax and transactions. Further information about Ernst & Young and its approach to a variety of business issues can be found at www.ey.com/us/perspectives. Ernst & Young refers to all the members of the global Ernst & Young organization.