2021 Scale Up North Awards Winners Announced
By Craig Manning | May 14, 2021
In a virtual awards ceremony Friday morning, Traverse Connect announced the winners of its second annual Scale Up North Awards, a program that aims to “recognize and celebrate the vibrant and diverse businesses that do business in northern Michigan.” Taste the Local Difference won the Emerging Business Award while Short’s Brewing Company won the Hagerty Scaling Business Award.
A jury of 10 judges, including the executives of the companies that won the prizes last year (Interactive Aerial or TentCraft), narrowed the field from 17 first-time competitors to 10 preliminary finalists and then to three finalists in each category. The evaluation process included virtual business visits, a pitch night on May 12th with the six best finalists, a panel discussion and much more.
The “Emerging Business” category is intended to honor smaller local companies that are “in the initial phase of growth”. Finalists selected for this category must have been in business for less than five years and have three or more employees. Other finalists this year were Common Good Bakery and Earthen Ales. The jury chose Taste the Local Difference and praised the organization for “achieving enormous growth in the first few years of business” and “raising the importance of local to a whole new level”. Taste the Local Difference will receive a cash award of $ 2,500 plus a bundle of in-kind benefits and benefits valued at “more than $ 24,000.”
The Hagerty Scaling Business Award is designed to honor established companies that are scaling and growing. To qualify, a company must have been in business for five years or more, have sales of $ 500,000 or more in 2020, and have up to 150 employees. Short’s Brewing Company ousted two other beverage industry players – Higher Grounds Trading Company and Traverse City Whiskey Co. – to receive the $ 5,000 cash prize and the $ 44,000 in-kind prize package. The jury celebrated Short’s for its “great product and cult brand”, for revitalizing the city of Bellaire, for its national brand awareness and for showing “that you can keep growing and stay true to your values”.
Traverse Connect created the Scale Up North Awards in 2020 to replace the Small Business Celebration previously hosted by the Traverse City Chamber of Commerce from 2005 to 2019. While the awards were being presented for both years of the Scale Up North Awards, Warren Call, CEO of Traverse Connect, canceled on Friday via Zoom with the words: “We hope to see you in person for these events next year and in person as soon as we are in come this spring, summer and fall season. “