Entrepreneur of the Year Awards
The SJU and CSB Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, sponsored by the McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship, recognize the achievements of a Johnnie and a Bennie who best exemplify the ideals of entrepreneurship by starting and successfully managing one or more businesses in a way that demonstrates notable entrepreneurial characteristics and achievements while practicing Benedictine values in the workplace and in their lives.
The CSB/SJU Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award recognizes the achievements and qualities of a Johnnie or Bennie who best exemplifies the ideals of social entrepreneurship by starting and successfully managing one or more ventures that enrich humanity or address a social issue in a way that demonstrates notable entrepreneurial characteristics and achievements while practicing Benedictine values in the workplace and in their lives.
Entrepreneur of the Year
Chris Coborn SJU '81 , CEO/Chairman/President of Coborn's Inc.
Chris Coborn serves as Chairman, President & CEO of Coborn’s Inc., a corporation of 125+ grocery, pharmacy, convenience, liquor, retail stores, online grocery ordering and delivery, and central support facilities, headquartered in St. Cloud, Minnesota and operating across the upper Midwest. The company’s family-owned business success comes from leadership that embraces change; is mindful of the customer’s evolving needs and is committed to growth. Coborn’s, Inc. has annual sales in excess of $1.6 billion and employs about 9,200 people in five states. In 2021, the company celebrated its 100th Anniversary and was recognized as the Retailer of the Year by the Shelby Report of the Midwest.
Chris serves on many industry boards and is a past member of FMI’s Board of Directors; past Chairman of the National Grocers Association’s Board of Directors; Chairman of Topco Associates’ Board of Directors; past Chairman of the Minnesota Grocers Association’s Board of Directors and member of the North Dakota Grocers Association’s Board of Directors. Chris also serves on the board of Stearns Bank, his local bank and has served on boards or committees of several community organizations in Central Minnesota where his company got its start. In 2017, Chris was inducted into the Minnesota Business Hall of Fame.
He promotes a corporate culture of leadership through community involvement and empowering his employees to be remarkable by inspiring happiness, healthy living and simplicity, one guest at a time.
CSB/SJU Entrepreneur of the Year
Kurt Vickman SJU '94 - Founder of the "Good Grocer"
Kurt Vickman is a social entrepreneur, real estate developer, and cultural innovator. As both a non-profit and for-profit entrepreneur, Kurt has built and lead successful start-ups for much of his life.
In 2002, Kurt founded the Upper Room on the belief that the Church should not just be about educating people but experientially engaging them to be a force for good in the world. Over the course of the next three years, Upper Room would grow from a few hundred people to over a thousand attending weekly.
In 2011, Kurt founded an innovative, social business in South Minneapolis called Good Grocer. As the country’s first volunteer powered grocery store, it is dependent on hundreds of volunteers to make fresh, quality food accessible and affordable to those in need. To date, Good Grocer has over 500 volunteers who work monthly as cashiers, baggers, and stockers in exchange for a 20% savings on their groceries.
Kurt has a BA from St. John's University and lives in Minneapolis with his wife Jeannette and daughters Kinsley and Brooklyn.