Matt Garrison, CEO of Energy.me, Chicago

| 10.21.2013 |

When it comes to getting a toehold in an established field, the power supply industry is a particularly hard sector to crack. Yet Energy.me has been able to quickly establish itself and go head-to-head with billion-dollar utility giants. Energy.me is the only independent electricity supplier in Chicago. Since it launched in the beginning of 2012, it has grown to $120 million in contracted revenue, 20 employees and 12,000 customers.

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Ben VandenWymelenberg, owner and CEO, Woodchuck, Minneapolis

| 10.14.2013 |

According to the Woodchuck website, the principals behind this Minneapolis company saw their endeavor as "a little more Mother Nature and a lot less Big Brother in their lives and in their electronics." The company's mission is unique – a product line of 100% real wood covers for iPhones, iPads and other digital electronic items. Also unique is having these products manufactured locally and not outsourced to China.

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Dr. Gopal Chopra, president and CEO, PINGMD Inc., New York City

| 10.07.2013 |

There appears to be an app for almost everything, and one of the latest entries in the app universe allows people to track their medical information and communicate directly with their doctors via mobile computing. This app is called PINGMD and it was created by Dr. Gopal Chopra, a neurosurgeon who has created a new way for physicians and patients to communicate.

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Alec Lynch, co-founder and CEO of DesignCrowd, Sydney, Australia

| 09.30.2013 |

To borrow a well-worn line from Mr. Dylan, the times they are a-changin' - especially in the realm of business design. Leading the way here is the Australian company DesignCrowd, which taps into the creative talent of more than 100,000 designers around the world for its high-profile projects. 

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Sara Andrews, co-founder and CEO, Bumbleroot, Denver

| 09.23.2013 |

Is there a Baobab fruit in your diet? If Sara Andrews has her way, this African fruit may soon be as common in your kitchen as a banana or an apple.

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One of the most quoted lines in the Shakespeare canon belongs to the character Dick the Butcher from Henry VI, Part II: "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers." But contrary to popular belief, this line is not designed to punish the legal profession - instead, it is seen as the first step in a strategy to bring about chaos and destruction in an organized society.

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Michael Kelleher is a man on a mission: making the home buying process smoother and simpler for all parties involved. This is no mean feat, considering that the mortgage industry has been a bit pokey in moving away from labor intensive and costly paper-based transactions.

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Erik Childress, producer and programmer, Chicago Critics Film Festival

| 09.03.2013 |

You are probably aware of the old song that proclaims there's no business like show business. But despite the glitz and glamour, show business is a business - and as with any business, there is a need for careful planning and coordination in order to bring about a successful endeavor.

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After a successful eight-year stretch in the U.S. Army, Jason Levesque entered the civilian world in search of a new challenge. He began working as a teacher before entering the marketing field. Levesque’s take-charge attitude helped him to create Argo Marketing Group.

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Ryan Alovis, founder and CEO of ArkNet Media, Garden City, N.Y.

| 08.19.2013 |

Seven years ago, a 22-year-old named Ryan Alovis began a one-man e-commerce business with no venture capital funding and no experience in his chosen field. Over time, Alovis rolled out an intriguing series of media outlets, including LensDirect.com, MagazineDiscountCenter.com and BirthdayPartyBooker.com.

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