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Champions of Free Enterprise

Each year the clubs will nominate a local business owner to be their Champion of Free Enterprise.   The nominations must meet the following seven guidelines in order to have the opportunity to be selected as a Champion.

1. Shall have a principal place of business in the State of Colorado.
2. Shall be the owner and must be actively involved in the daily operation and management of the business and may provide others with opportunities.
3. Shall provide a legitimate product and/or service and be competing in the in the market place in an ethical and moral manner.
4. Shall not now or ever have received government grants or assistance (with the possible exception of SBA loans). Has participated with industry associations and/or civic clubs in the community.
5. Shall not be a member of any sponsoring Sales Professional Club at the time of the initial nomination; purpose is to recognize individuals from the community.
6. Shall demonstrate a record of success and growth over a period of three (3) to five (5) years using some form of measurable indicators. This would demonstrate the power of the free enterprise system.
7. Shall be an example of caring for youth organizations in the community. The owner or business should participate or support youth in some manner that demonstrates the entrepreneurial spirit.

Each business owner is interviewed and pictures are taken of them and their business location to build a profile.  That profile is shared at our annual awards event that is usually in April or May each year.

2014 Winners

Roger Mangan - Roger Mangan Insurance - Arapahoe Sales Professionals

Jack & Athan Miller - Jacks - North Suburban Sales Professionals

Jeff Anderson - Quick Quality Interiors - West Metro Sales Professionals

2015 Winners

Danny Cichon - Danny Cash Hot Sauce - West Metro

Ken Avery - Great Peaks HVAC - North Suburban

Joe Collins - Print & Copy Centers of Colorado - Mile High

Robert & Erica Sansone - Sansone Bistro - Arapahoe

The History of Champions of Free Enterprise



Sales Professionals International is a 50-year-old Colorado-based organization dedicated to the Free Enterprise system.  It provides education, support, and networking opportunities for entrepreneurs and other sales-oriented professionals.

Kit Haddock, of the Pikes Peak club in Colorado Springs, deserves credit for the idea of creating an annual awards banquet to honor exemplary entrepreneurs in Colorado communities.  Kit felt that entrepreneurs who could combine a successful business with community service received far too little recognition and he felt that Salesmen With a Purpose (now called Sales Professionals International) was the perfect organization to create that recognition. 

In the first year, 1984, the banquet was held at the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver.  In that first event, each of the 10 or so clubs in the area selected a Champion to honor from among their membership.  There was a major speaker and the award event.  In the ensuing years, it was decided to select entrepreneurs who were not members of the Club in order to provide a greater community service through the awards.  By about 1990, it was decided to not have a major speaker in order to put the entire focus on the Champions.

Today, each of the eight Colorado clubs chooses a Champion to honor at the banquet.  Selection criteria include:  (1) owning and operating a successful and growing business (most Champions also founded their businesses), (2) financing obtained from personal or other private, rather than governmental, sources (except for SBA loans), (3) a commitment to “growing people” in the organization, especially youth, and (4) a demonstrated commitment to youth and community service.  

Businesses operated by Champions of Free Enterprise have ranged from small personal consulting businesses to large homebuilder and construction companies.  There have been computer and printing businesses, insurance, real estate, car dealerships, telecommunications sales and service.  There have been manufacturers, service, and sales organizations.  And, of course, many restaurants and other food service establishments.  If it can be made into a business, then one or more of the Champions of Free Enterprise have probably done it.

A Champion of Free Enterprise Banquet is held in the Spring of each year.  Every effort is made to make it an elegant tribute to our Champions, as well as a fun and inspiring event.  Anyone who has attended one of these events will tell you that the entrepreneurs who have been selected to be Champions are always inspiring individuals.  They are outstanding citizens who all demonstrate a strong commitment to the beauty of the Free Enterprise system coupled with a strong commitment to the satisfaction of community service.  The time with the Champions is always the high point of every Free Enterprise Banquet.

For more information about Sales Professionals International, please see our website at:  www.salesprofessionals-usa.com.  For more information about this year’s banquet, contact the President of the Sale Professionals club near you.

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