MountainWest Capital Network (MWCN) announced it has selected Robert Redford, actor, filmmaker, and founder of Sundance Resort, Sundance Institute and Sundance Catalog to receive its 35th annual Entrepreneur of the Year award. Each year, MWCN recognizes entrepreneurs who create industry-shaping businesses in Utah, inspire others with their entrepreneurial vision and give back to the community.
One of the most celebrated and successful actors in the history of film, Redford has been an industry-defining and award-winning leader both in front of audiences and behind the scenes for more than seven decades. In 1981, Redford founded the Sundance Institute at his Sundance Resort property in Provo Canyon, providing labs, grants and mentorships for artists working in film and episodic storytelling.
Now, the Sundance Institute has over 180 full-time employees across offices in Park City, Utah, Los Angeles and New York City. Redford also developed the Sundance Resort into one of the most popular skiing destinations that showcases Utah’s famous snow. In 1989, Redford created the Sundance Catalog, a mail-order catalog business based in Salt Lake City, that features the work of artisans whose work reflects the lifestyle of the American West.
“My history with the State of Utah goes back over 50 years. I chose to sink deep roots here because of its unique and scenic landscapes, which have been a source of inspiration for much of my work — along with its people, who are known for their generosity of spirit and strong work ethic,” said Redford. “These elements have provided Sundance with a strong foundation and continues to be the backdrop for our work. I thank the MountainWest Capital Network for this honor, which also serves as a tribute to the countless Sundance Catalog, Institute and Resort team members who have dedicated their time and talents.”
Redford is the creative force behind the Sundance Film Festival, the largest independent film festival in the United States and a major contributor to Utah’s tourism economy. In 2020 alone — a year impacted by the COVID pandemic — the Sundance Film Festival was estimated to have brought $167.5 million in Utah gross domestic product and 2,730 jobs for Utah residents.
“For the 35th year of our Entrepreneur of the Year award, we really wanted to acknowledge a global icon who creates communities and helped put Utah on the map,” said Ryan Dent, president of MWCN. “Mr. Redford’s vision of Sundance and the many opportunities it has generated in the Beehive State and beyond has inspired and enabled many others to likewise pursue their dreams.”
The MWCN Entrepreneur of the Year luncheon honoring Robert Redford was held on April 21, 2023 at the Grand America Hotel. Redford accepted his award via a pre-recorded video.
Additional speakers at the event will include his daughter, actor, producer and director Amy Redford.
Since its founding in 1983, MWCN has been committed to recognizing entrepreneurial success. Entrepreneur of the Year is a key feature of MWCN’s outreach to foster business relationships and recognize outstanding members of Utah’s business community.
Redford joins other entrepreneurial giants and pioneers who have also been named Entrepreneur of the Year since 1983. Honorees in the past decade include Sam and Kacie Malouf, Hanko Kiessner, Dr. Steve Neeleman, Fred Lampropoulos, Ryan Smith, Jeremy Andrus, Aaron Skonnard, Peter and Nicole Mouskondis, Tom Dickson, Todd Pedersen and Josh James.