TRAVERSE CITY — A total of 21 companies will progress through Traverse Connect’s Scale Up North Awards competition.
The companies were informed on Friday and the list of companies qualifying for the next round of the competition was published on Monday. Originally, just 20 were set to advance in the competition involving for-profit businesses in Traverse Connect’s five-county service area in two growth stages.
“We liked all the apps so much that we decided to go with 21,” said Camille Hoisington, Director of Ecosystem Development at Traverse Connect. “We received two dozen applications and three did not meet the criteria, so we decided it was foolish to eliminate one.”
The Emerging Business Award is for new local businesses in the early stages of growth. Eligibility includes businesses with less than five years of operation with any amount of revenue and at least three full-time employees.
The Hagerty Scaling Business Award is for existing scaling businesses with demonstrated growth. Businesses must be in operation for five years or more with 2021 revenue of $500,000 or more and up to 150 full-time employees.
The eight advancing in the emerging business category are: The Elk Rapids Marina on Elk Lake, FirstIgnite, Golden Swan Management, Kultura Group — Luxury Real Estate, Olean’s Dispensary, Refuge Salon, Shift Health Center and Yuba Vineyards.
The 13 people advancing in the Hagerty Scaling Business category are: Bay View Flooring, Cox Machine, Fresh Coast Market, Grand Traverse Distillery, Hilbert’s Honey Co., Inhabitect, Oryana Community Cooperative, Pets Naturally, Truly Free, The Royal Stag Properties, The Workshop Brewing Company, Third Coast Fruit Co. and TruNorth Landscaping.
The 24 applicants for the Scale Up North awards were just one of 25 applicants in 2021. The competition attracted 36 applicants in 2020.
Usually dominated by businesses in Grand Traverse County, candidates in 2022 included those in counties Antrim and Leelanau.
“We received a good number of applicants from outside of Grand Traverse County,” Hoisington said.
Hoisington noted that the “strength and quality” of the candidates in 2022 was also exceptional.
“The judges are going to have a hard time,” she said.
All advancing companies have until March 11 to submit a two-minute video highlighting “their people, company culture, workspace, and offices or production facilities,” according to a statement from Traverse Connect. . The videos will be released to the public on a YouTube playlist from March 16-18.
The field will be narrowed down to the top 10 finalists in March. These 10 will participate in site visits on April 6 and 7, a day before the six finalists are informed and will qualify for the Scale Up North final at the City Opera House on May 5 at 4 p.m.
During the May 5 event, Emerging Business Award finalists will participate in a pitch competition, similar to TCNewTech or Shark Tank. A panel of judges will ask questions after the presentations.
The Hagerty Scaling Business Award Finals will include a Q&A roundtable.
The winning companies will receive a prize of cash and in-kind services.
The Emerging Business Award is valued at $23,000. The winner of the Scaling Business Award is worth $41,000. Both prize packages include space at Commongrounds on Eighth Street when construction is complete.
The Scale Up North awards are presented by Hagerty and Priority Health, with additional support from Northwestern Michigan College.