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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!

What's the timeline?

Attend a Virtual Scale Up North Event

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 you'd like to gain recognition for the work that you do, we want to hear from you!

If you have any questions about Scale Up North please contact Camille Hoisington at:

Applications Have Now Closed

Applications for Scale Up North were open from Monday, February 1, through Friday, February 19, 2021. Scroll down to RSVP for the Scale Up North Events and to learn more about Scale Up North!

Award Categories

There are two award categories in the Scale Up North Awards. The Emerging Business Award is focused on supporting business in the startup phases of growth that have been in business less than five years and have three or more full-time employees. The Hagerty Scaling Business Award is focused on supporting scaling businesses with demonstrated growth, that have been in business more than five years, have upwards of $500K in annual revenue, and have up to 150 employees. The winning businesses will each receive an awesome prize package valued at $20,000 and $40,000 in cash and in-kind services for the Emerging and Scaling categories, respectively.

2021 Emerging Business Award - Top 3 Finalists

Common Good Bakery



Earthen Ales



Taste the Local Difference



2021 Hagerty Scaling Business Award - Top 3 Finalists

Higher Grounds Trading Company



Short's Brewing Company



Traverse City Whiskey Co.



Meet the Scale Up North Judges

Janis Adams

Partner /// Danbrook Adams Raymond PLC

Matt Bulloch

President /// TentCraft

Tim Dutmers

President /// Venturi

Andrew Gorecki

DPT Owner /// Superior Physical Therapy

Todd Key

Director of Servicing and Retention /// Hagerty

Andrew Kohlmann

Owner /// Image360

Jen Seman

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

Barbara Shellman

Marketing Committee Chair /// SCORE Traverse City

Elizabeth Sonnabend

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

Mark Stephens

Chief Executive Officer /// Interactive Aerial

Watch the 2020 Scale Up North Live Winners Announcement

On Friday, May 8, the Scale Up North Judges awarded the 2020 Emerging Business Award to Interactive Aerial and the 2020 Hagerty Scaling Business Award to TentCraft.

Christian Smith

President, Interactive Aerial / Scale Up North Emerging Business Award Winner 2020

We were ecstatic to win the Emerging Business Award in 2020’s Scale Up North Awards competition! Traverse Connect did a phenomenal job organizing and communicating the process along the way, and made it easy to be prepared! We look forward to a fun year of working alongside Traverse Connect to help support your mission to grow businesses in Northern Michigan.”

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.”

2020 Emerging Business Award - Top 3 Finalists

HealthBridge Financial



Interactive Aerial






2020 Hagerty Scaling Business Award - Top 3 Finalists

ATLAS Space Operations, Inc.

Scaling Business


Higher Grounds Trading Co.

Scaling Business


TentCraft, Inc.

Scaling Business


Scale Up North Sponsors

Presenting Sponsors

Media Sponsors

In-Kind Sponsors