Mary Mathews Legacy Award

Mary Mathews

The Mary Mathews Legacy Award

Mary Mathews founded the Entrepreneur Fund in 1989 with the goal of creating a vibrant entrepreneurial culture in our region.

Through strong leadership, Mary helped transform the lives of local business owners and drive business growth in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin.

To honor her work, the Entrepreneur Fund recognizes small business owners who embody Mathew’s entrepreneurial vision through achieving significant milestones in growing revenues, adding jobs, impacting the community and becoming strong community leaders.

Congratulations, Tom Hanson!

In 2017, Tom Hanson, owner of Duluth Grill and OMC Smokehouse became the first award recipient. His work has had a profound impact on the Lincoln Park business district.

Tom’s restaurants are Duluth staples, popular with locals and tourists alike. No trip to Duluth is complete without Sunday brunch at Duluth Grill. And if the immediate success of OMC Smokehouse is any indicator, we can continue to expect great things from Tom Hanson.

Tom Hanson receiving award

Award Criteria

Candidates must own businesses in the Entrepreneur Fund’s eleven-county region in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin, and be a client of the Entrepreneur Fund in a financial and/or strategic capacity.

Candidates are also assessed on the following criteria:

  • Revenue: The business exemplifies innovation, professionalism and integrity and has shown an increase in gross revenues of at least 10 percent over one year.
  • Jobs: The business fosters a positive, fair and supportive environment for all employees and the business has added at least five new jobs or two FTEs to a community.
  • Community Impact: The business leads the way through reinvestment, community-minded business practices, and for the greater good of the community.
  • Community Leadership: The business serves their community with vision and integrity through innovation, growth, sound business practices, community responsibility and partnerships.

The Entrepreneur Fund plans to present the Mary Mathews Legacy Award to deserving entrepreneurs throughout the year.