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Scale Up North Awards

What are the Scale Up North Awards?


At Traverse Connect, we are committed to bolstering and encouraging the scalability of businesses in the Grand Traverse Region. The Scale Up North Awards recognize and celebrate the vibrant and varied companies doing business "up north", their achievements, and their impact on the community and economy. After several rounds of opportunity to showcase their work, two businesses will be selected by a panel of judges and crowned as winner of one of two Scale Up North award categories. We look forward to celebrating the incredible entrepreneurs who make our community thrive!

Who should apply?

Businesses in the technology, creative, and traded industries are strongly encouraged to apply. Your business must be a for-profit company and be headquartered in Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Antrim, Leelanau or Benzie counties. If your business is thriving, and you'd like to gain recognition for the work that you do, we want to hear from you!

Apply Now.

Award Categories

Why apply?


  • You’ll receive significant recognition and publicity that could prove invaluable in pushing your business to the next level.
  • Scale Up North Awards events are attended by hundreds of area residents and business people.
  • The Scale Up North evaluation process offers businesses a tremendous opportunity to evaluate your business operations and think about your long‐term goals. 
  • Participating businesses are featured on Traverse Connect’s social media platforms that include over five thousand followers across all platforms.
  • The prize packages are AWESOME, and include benefits valued at over $50,000!


Don’t take our word for it – our judges have a few great reasons of their own:

Leslie Winkle

Owner, Studio415 / Scale Up North Awards Judge

“As a participant in the Scale Up North Awards, you will gain tremendous experience, from helping you to fine tune your business practices as well as involve your team in the application process, which will strengthen your team camaraderie! This is also a fantastic opportunity to expand beyond your business’ existing customer base and to bring in new customers. Scale Up North is a great way to grow your business from the inside out!”

Tim Dutmers

President, Venturi / Scale Up North Awards Judge

“For those who, like our team, have the pleasure of living and working in Traverse City, yet generate their business everywhere else, the biggest benefit is the opportunity for your entire team to participate and tell the exciting story of your company’s growth and development. The experience of participating in this process will galvanize and reward your team, regardless of the outcome. You’ll be a better team after being considered for the Scale Up North Awards.”

Important Dates


Meet the Scale Up North Judges

Andrew Gorecki

DPT Owner /// Superior Physical Therapy

Andrew Kohlman

Owner /// Image360

Barbara Shellman

Marketing Committee Chair /// SCORE Traverse City

Elizabeth Sonnabend

Program Manager /// Extended Educational Services - Northwestern Michigan College

Jen Seman

Director /// Sales & Client Services, Northern Michigan Region - Priority Health

Leslie Winkle

Owner /// Studio 415

Tim Dutmers

President /// Venturi

Todd Key

Director of Servicing and Retention /// Hagerty

Thursday, February 27

Scale Up North Showcase

4:30pm - 6:30pm

The Hagerty Center at Northwestern Michigan College.


Details & Registration

Wednesday, March 18

Scale Up North Finals

4:00pm - 7:00pm

The City Opera House 

Tickets for this event will be available at

Details & Registration

Scale Up North Sponsors

Presenting Sponsors

Media Sponsors

In-Kind Prize Sponsors