Hoehn-Saric named top entrepreneur



R. Christopher Hoehn-Saric, chairman and chief executive officer of Educate Inc., has been selected as the national Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in the services category.

Hoehn-Saric, 43, was recognized for transforming the former Sylvan Learning Systems, the predecessor of Educate, into a successful educational services company in Baltimore.

"It's certainly very humbling," he said yesterday. "One of the key things is it really represents not so much my accomplishments, but the accomplishments of the team of people I work with every day."

In 2003, Sylvan Learning Systems was broken up to form two separate companies: Educate and Laureate Education Inc., a Baltimore-based operator of foreign and online universities.

The following year, Educate went public. The company reported $300 million in revenue last year. Best known for its Sylvan tutoring centers, Educate also operates Hooked on Phonics and Catapult Learning.

Hoehn-Saric also gave credit to Douglas L. Becker, Laureate's chairman and chief executive officer, his friend and business partner for 20 years. The two bought Sylvan Learning Systems in 1993.

Hoehn-Saric, the only local winner, was one of 12 Baltimore-area regional business leaders that went onto the national competition sponsored by Ernst & Young annually. He, along with 10 other national winners, were selected from about 400 regional award recipients at a ceremony Saturday in Palm Springs, Calif.

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