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Introducing the Scale Up North Awards

Northwest Michigan’s dynamic and diverse small businesses will take center stage in the coming weeks with the opening of applications for the Scale Up North Awards, a new program of Traverse Connect.

The Scale Up North Awards will acknowledge the vibrant and varied companies doing business “up north”. Businesses in the technology, creative, and traded industry are emerging, growing and making a positive impact on the Grand Traverse Region with the creation of family-sustaining jobs, attracting talent, and driving economic growth.

The Scale Up North Awards will recognize businesses in two stages of growth: the Emerging Business Award and the Hagerty Scaling Business Award. Both awards are open to for-profit companies in Traverse Connect’s five-county service area. Applications will be accepted through Friday, February 21 with one simple application available through Traverse Connect’s new website at traverseconnect.com/sun.

The Emerging Business Award is focused on supporting new local businesses in the startup phases of growth. Eligibility criteria for companies applying for the Emerging Business Award are less than five years in business, with any amount of revenue, and at least three full-time employees. The Hagerty Scaling Business Award is focused on supporting existing scaling businesses with demonstrated growth. Eligibility criteria for companies applying for the Hagerty Scaling Business Award are more than five years in business, revenue in 2019 that is greater than or equal to $500,000, and up to 150 full-time employees.

“We’re excited to launch the Scaling Up North Awards to recognize growing businesses in our area, which are helping drive a diverse and growing economy for the Grand Traverse Region,” Traverse Connect President and CEO Warren Call said. “Every day I meet business leaders or employees from companies in the traded industries, creative and tech sectors that deserve recognition for their innovative and diverse contributions to our business sector. The Scale Up North Awards are a new program for us to help these companies attain higher rates of growth and attract talented workers for challenging and rewarding careers.”

The Scale Up North Awards are sponsored by Hagerty, Priority Health, and Northwestern Michigan College.

A panel of judges will select up to 25 companies to be featured at the Scale Up North Showcase on Thursday, February 27 at The Hagerty Center at Northwestern Michigan College, which is free and open to the public. The top five finalists for each award will be announced on Friday, February 28, the day following the Showcase. On Thursday, March 6, the field will be narrowed to the top three finalists for each award, who will participate in the Scale Up North Finals, a ticketed event, on Wednesday, March 18 at the City Opera House. The Scale Up North Finals will feature a pitch competition for the three finalists for the Emerging Business Award followed by a moderated panel discussion with the three finalists for the Hagerty Scaling Business Award. Judges will deliberate and make a live announcement of the winners that evening.