2015 Entrepreneurship Award Winners

Apr 28, 2015

Last night we had six Entrepreneurship Awards finalists present their businesses in front of a panel of judges and a live audience. Our three Community Impact finalists were also in attendance and waiting to hear the results from the community online voting. All were hoping to walk away with $1,000. Both the Pre-Launch and Launch finalists had five minutes and five slides to convince the judges that their business was poised to grow and would continue to succeed. Three finalists succeeded at just that, and we named our winners!

The competition was intense, and the judges had no easy task. Each judge provided a unique and relevant perspective, and we're so grateful to them for sharing their time and expertise with us!

2015 HYPE Entrepreneurship Awards Judges from left to right: George Thomson, Principal, Filomeno & Company, P.C.; Michelle Cote, Managing Director of the Connecticut Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, University of Connecticut; Cliff Thermer, Assistant Vice President for Strategy & Business, Goodwin College; John Glidden, Chief Financial Officer, Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology, Inc.; Alan Kreczko, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, The Hartford

Business Pre-Launch Winner
InstaCraft - Erin Drennan

InstaCraft boxed kits contain craft supplies to create popular do-it-yourself projects. Customers select the project they are interested in and customize the kit's content based on the event or occasion in mind, allowing each kit receiver to personalize their project, but with added convenience. They plan to launch June 1, 2015 with the DIY bride's interests in mind and expand to other customer segments in the future.

Business Launch Winner
Bear's Smokehouse BBQ - Jamie McDonald

Bear's Smokehouse BBQ is a fast, casual restaurant serving authentic, Kansas City style BBQ to walk-in and take out customers out of locations in Windsor and Hartford. Bear's also provides limited and full service catering options and vends at both local/regional fairs and events. They differentiate themselves from other restaurants by smoking high quality meats, and preparing fresh, homemade sides and desserts from scratch on a daily basis.

Community Impact
Night Fall - LB

LB Muñoz works at Kinetic Dreams and has been working on Night Fall since 2012. Night Fall is a celebration of community and seasonal change through art, music, dance and local artist Anne Cubberly's legendary giant puppets. This festival presents a free performance in one of Hartford’s public parks annually, inspired by that neighborhood’s diversity, culture, and history. They create cross-sector partnerships to present free workshops throughout the city to foster community relationships through art. They celebrate nature and strive for sustainability by using recycled materials and leaving no post-event footprint. They are a uniquely Hartford celebration and signature event for the region that brings people together to revitalize the urban landscape and creatively transform our capital city.

2015 HYPE Entrepreneurship Award Winners from left to right: Community Impact, LB Muñoz of Nightfall; Business Launch, Jamie McDonald of Bear's Smokehouse; Business Pre-Launch, Erin Drennan of InstaCraft

Thank you to all the nominees, and congratulations to our winners!

A huge thank you to The Hartford for being the Presenting Sponsor of this event! Their team was an absolute joy to work with, and without their generosity this event wouldn't have been free to the public. We'd also like to thank CCAT, Filomeno & Company, P.C. and Goodwin College for providing additional sponsor support!

Thank you to the team from our Presenting Sponsor, Thank Hartford! From left to right: Alan Kreczko, Melanie Jortner, Diane Cantello, Morgan Ferrarotti, Ed Broadhead and Nick Garofoli

Thank you to Alex Syphers for capturing the evening so beautifully! The images featured in this blog are his work, and there will be a full event album available soon. We'd also like to thank the Hartford Public Library for hosting and The Kitchen at Billings Forge for catering!


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