AGE MATTERS The average age of our Hot 100 entrepreneurs is 41.5 years old. The baby of the group is 25; our oldest is still going strong at 69

THE FASTEST GROWING ENTREPRENEURIAL BUSINESSES IN AMERICA

IN OUR 21ST CENTURY ECONOMY, SPEED IS THE NEW PREREQUISITE. ENTREPRENEURS WHO DON'T HIT THE GROUND RUNNING ARE OFTEN LEFT CHOKING ON A CLOUD OF DUST. MEANWHILE, MUCH OF THE GLORY TODAY GOES TO THOSE WHO ACCELERATE FROM $0 TO MILLIONS FASTER THAN YOU CAN SAY IPO.

YOU COULD SAY ENTREPRENEUR WAS QUICK TO PICK UP ON THIS TREND. FIVE YEARS AGO, ON THE CUSP OF AMERICA'S OBSESSION WITH ALL THINGS FAST, WE SET OUT TO FIND THE NATION'S FASTEST-GROWING NEW BUSINESSES, WITH THE HELP OF DUN & BRADSTREET (D&B), THE WORLD'S TOP RESEARCH-BASED BUSINESS INFORMATION PROVIDER, WE COMBED MASSIVE DATABASES TO FIND 100 ENTREPRENEURIAL VENTURES OF ALL SHAPES, FORMS, INDUSTRIES AND CORNERS OF THE COUNTRY. THE COMMON BOND; WARP SPEED GROWTH.

MAKING THE CUT

This is how it all begins: Culling from its massive database, Dun & Bradstreet provides Entrepreneur with an initial list of fast-grow-ing companies. Entrepreneur mails each company a form, which the entrepreneurs must complete and submit along with current finan-cial statements. We then measure the company's sales growth from the date of inception, listing the businesses in growth order. In order for a business to be considered, it must meet the following criteria:

Founder is actively involved in daily operations and controls at least 51 percent of the business. Business was founded no earlier than 1997. • Annual sales exceeded $1 million in 1999. Company meets the SBA's definition of a small business, based on the number of employees and sales figures.

These numbers vary according to industry.

ABOUT DUN & BRADSTREET

Dun & Bradstreet (D&B), with the world's largest business information database, tracks 57 million companies worldwide, 11 million in the United States alone. Businesses use D&B's services to find new customers and evaluate their creditworthiness, identify potential suppliers, and collect overdue receivables. Through face-to-face and telephone interviews and public-records searches, more than 200 million financial transactions are added annually to D&B's files in the United States alone. D&B updates its information base continually—an average of 950,000 times each business day. When businesses are entered in the D&B database, they are issued D-U-N-S numbers (similar to Social Security numbers for companies). The U.S. federal government requires companies to have this number to bid for government con-tracts. Also used by the United Nations and the European Union, the D&B D-U-N-S number is quickly becoming the universal standard for identifying businesses on the Web as well

 

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