Meet the 2011 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® winners

Congratulations to the winners of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Awards!

Reid Hoffman and Jeff Weiner of LinkedIn are the overall US winners of the 2011 Entrepreneur Of The Year awards. This year’s award recipients were chosen from a field of close to 2,000 of the best and brightest entrepreneurs in ten categories.

Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year® Overall US winners: Reid Hoffman and Jeff Weiner LinkedIn

The magic that William Procter and James Gamble brought to Cincinnati and Wall Street, Reid Hoffman and Jeff Weiner are now bringing to Silicon Valley and the world of the internet. The magic is this: a perfect blend of talents and vision creating off-the-charts success. They put their complementary gifts to work in the pursuit of a common cause — to connect professionals around the globe.

Their tool: LinkedIn, the largest professional networking service in the world. From 4,500 members after its first month of operation in 2003, LinkedIn has amassed more than 100 million members in 200 countries today. Among the sensibilities Hoffman and Weiner share is a commitment to using technology to enhance quality of life.

“What I do is design, build and improve ecosystems,” says Hoffman. “If you can design them the right way, you can improve individuals’ lives and society.” Weiner’s similar values are rooted in his desire to improve education for all. “Media is one of the primary ways we can do that,” he says. “Search [tools] democratized access to education.”

This past May, LinkedIn reached a milestone when the company went public. With an IPO value of $45 a share, the company’s worth was placed at $4.3 billion — the highest market value for a US internet company making its Wall Street debut since Google went public in 2004.

Their phenomenal success, both men insist, won’t change their basic approach to business. “No matter how large we become, we want to maintain that entrepreneurial spirit,” Weiner says. For that reason, the story of Reid Hoffman and Jeff Weiner echoes the story of those two famous soap and candle makers, Procter & Gamble, who took their product public more than 120 years ago. And it puts a sign reading “Hoffman & Weiner” firmly in place at the newest intersection of Silicon Valley and Wall Street.

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SOURCE: Ernst & Young LLP