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Young Entrepreneurs Celebrate Success, Innovation at HYPE Awards

Apr 25, 2014
MetroHartford Alliance
Young Entrepreneurs Celebrate Success, Innovation at HYPE Awards
2014 HYPE Entrepreneurship Awards honor Hartford area startups and small businesses

Hartford, Conn. (April 25, 2014) – They may be part of the economic future of our region, but Wednesday night was their time to enjoy this moment.

Hartford Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs (HYPE), an initiative of the MetroHartford Alliance, held its 2014 Entrepreneurship Awards April 23 at The Mark Twain House in Hartford. With 50 percent more nominations this year over 2013, there was a tremendous group of recipients from various industries.  This year’s awardees included:

  • CivicLift, Pre-Launch:  This award is targeted at a business that has not yet launched, but has strong potential for success after launch in its given industry. Based in Torrington, CivicLift builds web and mobile applications that give communities a platform to market their resources on a professional level.
  • Founders Pomade, Launch: This award is targeted at new businesses from any sector that have launched since January 1, 2012, and demonstrate strong potential for growth and success. Based in West Hartford, Founders Pomade offers a hair styling product after months of research and trial while donating fifty cents from every bottle sold to various Connecticut charities.
  • Severance Foods/Pan de Oro, Excellence:  This award is targeted at mature businesses that incorporated before January 1, 2012, and can point to a demonstrated track record, proven products and/or services, and established clientele. Pan de Oro has gone from being a marginal 1 percent of Severance Foods revenue to one of its top 10 brands (i.e. customers). All of its products are "Made in Hartford" certified.
2014 HYPE Entrepreneur Award Winners
From left to right: Garrett Kenny (Founders Pomade); Elias Di Michele (Founders Pomade);
Evan Dobos (CivicLift); Rick Stevens (Pan de Oro)

“I was quite surprised and honored to receive this award considering all of the bustling economic activity going on in this region,” said Rick Stevens, contract accounts manager at Pan de Oro. “I’m very excited to see how quickly our Pan De Oro brand gains broader recognition throughout Connecticut and New England in the coming year. HYPE is certainly helping us get there sooner than expected.”

This year’s awards sponsors included the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology (CCAT), Goodwin College and Filomeno & Company, P.C. Judges included: Paul Striebel, procurement manager and small business incubator program administrator, CCAT; Mark Piatowski, CPA, Filomeno & Company, P.C.; Cliff Thermer, assistant vice president, strategy and business development, Goodwin College; Suzi Craig, director of community development, Independent Software; Wayne I. Benjamin, director, economic development, for the City of Hartford.

In addition to the Entrepreneur Awards, HYPE hosts a variety of professional development and networking events for entrepreneurs throughout the year.  To learn more, visit

About Hartford Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs (HYPE)
Hartford Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs (HYPE) is an initiative of the MetroHartford Alliance.  HYPE’s mission is to help young professionals become better engaged in community life, expand professional and social opportunities and become ambassadors for the Hartford Region.  To learn more, visit