Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center celebrates region’s entrepreneurial achievements with inaugural Momentum Awards

March 5, 2008

Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center celebrates region’s entrepreneurial achievements with inaugural Momentum Awards

J.B. Pritzker honored as Entrepreneurial Champion; SAVO receives 2008 Merrick Momentum Award to recognize business success and growth potential

CHICAGO – As part of its ongoing efforts to nurture high-growth businesses and recognize entrepreneurial achievements in the region, the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center held the inaugural Momentum Awards last evening and brought together more than 600 people from the business community at the Ritz-Carlton Chicago. As part of the night’s events, J.B. Pritzker received the Entrepreneurial Champion Award and SAVO was recognized with the Merrick Momentum Award to acknowledge this high-growth, entrepreneurial business in the Chicago region. SAVO is a leading developer of on-demand sales enablement tools, which has been co-led by John Aiello and Drew Larsen since 1999.

“The entrepreneurial spirit in Chicago is strong and it’s important to recognize those who are instrumental in building businesses in our region,” said David Weinstein, president of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center, a non-profit affiliate of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. “J.B. Pritzker is a true champion and advocate for Chicago businesses and his impact reverberates throughout the entrepreneurial, technology and venture capital communities.”

J.B. Pritzker is managing partner of The Pritzker Group, a private investment firm, as well as partner and founder of New World Ventures, one of Chicago’s prominent early-stage information technology investors. As a founding member of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center Board of Directors, Pritzker was instrumental in the recruitment and development of the board, as well as a catalyst for the formation of the Illinois Innovation Accelerator (i²A) Fund.

“The Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center is an incredible resource for businesses in this region, and they are engaged in helping entrepreneurs achieve their goals in securing capital and growing revenue. While it is an honor and privilege to receive this award, we must continue helping entrepreneurs to thrive and grow to help the Chicago region become even stronger,” said Pritzker.

The Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center Board of Directors selected SAVO for the 2008 Merrick Momentum Award from a field of other prominent emerging companies with strong growth potential including Argo Tea, Inc., BrightStar Healthcare, LLC, and ClaimForce, Inc.

“The Momentum Award is intended to recognize entrepreneurial companies that have shown a solid business track record and are poised for growth,” said Michael Ferro Jr., Chairman and CEO of Merrick Ventures, LLC and Co-Chairman of the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center Board of Directors. “Our board saw the remarkable potential in the SAVO organization, and believed that the company was deserving of this honor not only for its past success, but also its great potential to be a dynamic, flourishing company in Chicago.”

SAVO has grown rapidly since they began collaborating with the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center in 2004: from 15 employees to 75 today; from two customers to approximately 65 today; and from approximately 700 subscribers to the company’s on-demand application to about 120,000 today. SAVO’s technology is now being utilized by clients including IBM, American Express, Morgan Stanley, ADP, Staples, SPSS, Northern Trust,, and dozens more.

“Our momentum to date is driven by our commitment to meeting the needs of our customers, and we look forward to making Chicago proud as we continue to build our company,” said SAVO CEO John Aiello.

“We are honored and humbled to be selected as the inaugural Merrick Momentum Award winners. Our passion for entrepreneurship and our pride for Chicago combine as we accept this award,” said SAVO President Drew Larsen.

For more information about SAVO, visit

About the Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center
The Chicagoland Entrepreneurial Center is a nonprofit affiliate of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce that seeks to make a perceptible and lasting economic impact on the Chicago region by helping entrepreneurs and high-growth businesses build viable, sustainable, and profitable enterprises. The CEC works with entrepreneurs to create and sustain opportunities for business success, job growth, and profitability. To learn more visit

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