EA Recipients -2018

Entrepreneurial Achievement Award - 2018

The Entrepreneurial Achievement Award is given to outstanding individuals who combine innovative business achievement with service to humanity. The award was established to provide appropriate recognition to those individuals and firms who contribute significantly to the vitality and strength of the economy, combining innovative business achievement with service to humanity.


Dr. Merle A. Hinrich

Founder, Hinrich Foundation

Nominated by Hong Kong Baptist University


Dr. Merle A. Hinrich is founder of The Hinrich Foundation, a private philanthropic organization established in 2012 for the charitable purpose of promoting sustainable global trade. The Hinrich Foundation encourages the private sector and governments to drive innovation and competitiveness in trade-related activities. Hinrich Foundation programs focus on international trade policy research, trade scholarships and career development, and export-led job creation in developing Asia.

Dr. Hinrich and his wife, Miriam, have lived in in Hong Kong since 1970. With close ties to the region, Dr. Hinrich founded and served as Executive Chairman of Global Sources Limited, Asia’s leading business-to-business media company focused on global trade.  The company was listed on NASDAQ in 2000.

After graduating from the University of Nebraska, Dr. Hinrich earned a graduate degree in International Trade from Thunderbird School of Global Management (Arizona State University).  Additionally, Dr. Hinrich was awarded Honorary Doctoral Degrees by the University of Nebraska in 1996, and by Thunderbird in 2010.  Hong Kong Baptist University conferred an Honorary University Fellowship on him in 2015.

Dr. Hinrich has been guided by a sincere desire to advance educational opportunities, drive business innovation and leverage technology.  These same principles direct his approach to developing international trade and philanthropy.

Michael Seibel

CEO and Partner, Y Combinator

Nominated by Morgan State University


Michael Seibel is CEO and Partner at Y Combinator, a seed accelerator that has funded over 1,464 startups, created a community of 3,000 founders, and whose companies have a combined valuation of over $80 billion. Mr. Seibel is a successful serial entrepreneur, a global leader in the development of viable high growth startups, an effective advocate for diversity in the startup ecosystem, and a champion for innovating undergraduate education.  

Before joining Y Combinator as its first African American partner, Mr. Seibel was co-founder and CEO of two successful startups: Justin.tv (later known as Twitch Interactive) and Socialcam.  As CEO and partner at Y Combinator, he leads one of the highest rated accelerators (Forbes, 2017) based on valuation, survival rates, and satisfaction of the firms mentored.  Michael is a committed advocate for diversity within startups and among startup founders.

Mr. Seibel also leads innovation in undergraduate education, with donations of both time and money to support the growth and development of young entrepreneurs.  One example is a course modeled after the Y Combinator program, where student teams are required to start a business by mid-semester and have sales by the end of the semester. Participants call the courses transformational, and highly recommend them to their peers.

Mr. Seibel earned his bachelor’s degree from Yale University in political science.

Lise Watier

Founder and Co-Chair of the Board, Lise Watier Cosmetics

President, Lise Watier Foundation

Nominated by Concordia University


Lise Watier built her company from the ground up to make it the number one prestige cosmetic company in Canada.  Today, Lise Watier Cosmetics, known as “the brand created by a woman, for women,” features a broad line up of innovative make-up, skin care, and fragrance products.

Born in Montreal, Lise’s early career began as a TV and radio personality covering topics of interest to female audiences.  This experience – and a devoted audience that sought her advice – inspired her to start a beauty institute dedicated to beauty and self-esteem.  Four years later, in 1972, Lise Watier Cosmetics was born.

In 2013, Ms. Watier stepped down as head of Lise Watier Cosmetics.  Since that time, she has devoted herself to fundraising efforts on behalf of the Lise Watier Foundation – a charity she set up to empower women, particularly those in poverty. 

Lise’s philanthropy has (and continues to be) extensive:  100% of the proceeds generated from the sales of two cosmetic products have raised over $1,000,000 for the foundation.  Additionally, her foundation saw the inauguration of the Lise Watier Pavilion, a space in Montreal not far from her place of birth.  The Lise Watier Pavilion provides dignified housing for 29 homeless women to help them reintegrate into society.