JACKSON, Miss. (Apr. 25, 2023) – The University of Mississippi School of Business Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship named Liza Cirlot Looser, founder and CEO of The Cirlot Agency, as the 2023 Farrington Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year.
Each year, the business school selects one business or entrepreneur to recognize as the Farrington Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year, an award named after Jan and Lawrence Farrington for their entrepreneurial spirit and their love for helping young people to start businesses.
“Liza has been instrumental in the growth of the University of Mississippi Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) over the last several years both as a past chairman and present member of their advisory board,” said Clay Dibrell, Co-Director of the University of Mississippi School of Business Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “This award is in recognition of not only what she has done with her own highly successful startup and now industry leader in The Cirlot Agency, but also for her leadership efforts with our Ole Miss student entrepreneurs, Mississippi family businesses and for the state of Mississippi’s business community. She is an inspiration to us all.”
Cirlot Looser established The Cirlot Agency in 1984 with a $78 tax return check. She received her first words of encouragement when she opened the Agency’s first account, and the bank officer said, “Go get ‘em, Tiger!”
Cirlot Looser has spent her career encouraging and supporting the spirit of entrepreneurship, particularly investing in student success at Ole Miss and the success of Mississippi family-owned businesses.
“The University of Mississippi Center of Innovation and Entrepreneurship is focused on creating generational entrepreneurs who can change the trajectory of business success in Mississippi and throughout the world,” said Cirlot Looser. “It has been an honor to serve as chairman of the CIE Advisory Board and to help create recently established programs, such as The REDe Summit, the Legacy Leadership Program, and the ‘It’s All Relative’ Family Business Symposium.”
The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) was established to provide students with the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary to become successful entrepreneurs. Last Spring, there were nearly 1,000 students representing 62 different majors in entrepreneurship courses through CIE. Alumni and friends can support CIE in a variety of ways, including judging competitions and providing feedback to students, participating in the Entrepreneurship Speaker Series, hiring students as interns, and mentoring, all roles Cirlot Looser proudly assumed as a 3-time chairman of the CIE advisory board.
In 2018, Cirlot Looser lead the charge to create the CIE REDe Entrepreneurship Summit for students to hear from accomplished global entrepreneurs who share their journey, insight, and wisdom. Speakers have included a wide variety of innovative and compelling business leaders, including Farrington Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year Awardees Gail Pittman, Edith Kelly-Green, Jan Farrington, Lois Lovelady-Rayburn, and Liza Cirlot Looser.
Cirlot Looser also helped establish the CIE Legacy Leadership Program and the “It’s All Relative” Family Business Symposium. The Legacy Leadership Program is established as a resource for family businesses from various industries to continue to grow and build strong, generational companies that impact the lives of families and communities served.
“It has always been about inspiring leaders, whether they are just beginning their career or building something that improves the generational quality of life for individual families and the lives of those they influence,” said Cirlot Looser. “The Farrington Distinguished Entrepreneur of the Year embodies the spirit of CIE and being selected as the 2023 recipient is a proud and meaningful moment in my career.”