When we started this magazine in 2003, we began a feature called “Cincy Entrepreneur.” We started it because we believed entrepreneurs were the heart of business here in the Tristate. Whether they worked for themselves or worked for big corporations and “made them dance,” as the former chairman of IBM liked to say, they were the creative ones with the drive and determination to take their companies to new levels of success.

In good times, it’s easy to forget that business success drives a community. Without successful businesses to share wealth with their employees and community, there would be no museums, no theaters and no orchestras.

So here we are, six years after starting a magazine for business professionals, realizing just how important our mission is today: The only way out of these tough economic times is to create more business success, and those who can do it best are entrepreneurs.

Call me crazy, but there are two reasons I am excited about 2009. The first is because of Cincy magazine’s mission. It’s more important than ever we tell the story of the region’s business success, and also tell the story of our arts and cultural community, the wonderful assets that bring the best and brightest to work here.

As you may have seen, we have created a new motto for the magazine, “Cincy: The ABC’s of Life in the Tristate.” We are convinced the building blocks of the region’s success will be Arts, Business and Culture.

The second reason I’m excited about 2009 is more personal, and will remind me constantly of the importance of entrepreneurs. Even though I have always thought of myself as an entrepreneur, I knew I wasn’t all there just yet. I didn’t own the magazine, nor did I own a piece of it. Because I worked for my family business, I trusted my employer. But clearly I was working on a promise, one I’m sure you’ve heard before: “Work hard, kid, and some day all this will be yours.”

So after working hard, I have become what many of you are already: an entrepreneur. I jumped at the chance to purchase the magazine. It’s a dream come true.

I share this story not to show I am fearless (I’m scared to death), that I’m rich (I’m not), or my timing is good (it’s lousy), but because I am proud to join your ranks, to fight the fight alongside the rest of you who are dedicated to growing your businesses and giving back to our community.

It is our belief at Cincy that the region’s success will be driven by its entrepreneurs. Not only am I fortunate to be one, but I am fortunate to be publisher of one of the few Cincinnati-owned media outlets whose mission it is to tell their story. It doesn’t get any better than that, no matter how tough the times.