International Franchise Association Names Shelly Sun 'Entrepreneur of the Year'

Founder and CEO of Chicago-Based BrightStar Joins the Ranks of J. Willard Marriott and Subway's Frederick DeLuca

February 09, 2010 // Franchising.com // CHICAGO - BrightStar Co-Founder and CEO Shelly Sun received one of the franchising industry's highest honors yesterday by the International Franchise Association as its Entrepreneur of the Year during its 50th Annual Convention in San Antonio, TX.

In accepting this award, Shelly Sun joins the ranks of J. Willard Marriott of Marriott Corporation and Frederick DeLuca of Subway, among others, as recipients of this prestigious award. Mrs. Sun is only the second female to receive this impressive award.

First presented in 1982, the Entrepreneur of the Year award is bestowed upon an individual who is currently building a successful business venture. The recipient must not only be a member of the International Franchise Association, but must exemplify the "entrepreneurial spirit" that franchising represents. He or she must demonstrate innovative management skills in a franchise that has been in operation for at least three years and must be active in the community.

"It is a tremendous honor to receive this recognition from my peers," said Sun, addressing the more than 2,000 attendees at the convention. "This award is a result of our franchisees relentless daily efforts in providing our clients quality of life, and providing peace of mind to families across the country."

Working as a CPA in 2001, Sun, along with her husband and co-founder of BrightStar, JD, found themselves looking for quality care for JD's grandmother who was suffering from cancer in Florida. The experience inspired Sun, a 13 year veteran of corporate America, to develop a healthcare staffing business that would provide reliable care to those in need and who wanted to remain in the comfort of their own home.

Founded in 2002, BrightStar is a full-service healthcare staffing agency that provides the full continuum of care, from homecare to supplemental staffing for corporate clients such as hospitals, nursing homes, and doctors offices. In August 2005, they launched BrightStar's franchising efforts, becoming the first franchising company in the United States to specialize in both medical and non-medical care and healthcare staffing.

Today, BrightStar has grown from one company-owned store to over 160 locations in 31 states and will reach 400 franchise locations sold by the end of 2011. Through Sun's leadership, BrightStar opens 7-12 territories each month and has experienced 811% system-wide revenue growth between 2006 and 2008.

"This is a tremendous honor and I am humbled to be receiving it after just a few short years franchising," Sun remarked. Sun thanked her mentors, peers and staff and went on to say, "We are blessed to be in the business of providing peace of mind to our clients by providing the highest quality, compassionate care and service; and we look forward to entering new cities and new markets where we'll be able to bring that service to families giving them dependability and comfort knowing their family is well cared for."

Sun is a member of the IFA Finance, Audit and Budget, Membership and FranPAC committees. She was selected as the Entrepreneur of the Year by the National Association of Women of Business Owners in 2006, was on the 50 fastest-growing woman-owned companies listed in Entrepreneur magazine in 2007, 2008 and 2009 and was honored as an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist in 2008 and 2009.

About BrightStar

Based in Chicago, BrightStar is a full-service healthcare staffing agency that provides medical and non-medical homecare to private clients within their homes, as well as supplemental healthcare staff to corporate clients. BrightStar's well-qualified, attentive caregivers provide peace of mind to clients and their families. They work to understand the needs of their clients and provide customized care to match them with a qualified, pre-screened caregiver who is compatible with their needs. BrightStar is one of the few home healthcare providers that offer both medical and non-medical homecare available to all clients 24/7.

About the International Franchise Association

The International Franchise Association, the world's oldest and largest organization representing franchising, is the preeminent voice and acknowledged leader for the industry worldwide. Approaching a half-century of service with a growing membership of more than 1100 franchise systems, 10,000-plus franchisees and more than 500 firms that supply goods and services to the industry, IFA protects, enhances and promotes franchising by advancing the values of integrity, respect, trust, commitment to excellence, honesty and diversity.

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