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HYPE Releases Entrepreneurship Award Finalists; Winners to Be Announced at April 27 Ceremony

HYPE logoHartford, Conn. (April 22, 2015) – Hartford Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs (HYPE), an initiative of MetroHartford Alliance, is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2015 HYPE Entrepreneurship Awards.  These awards engage and recognize the Hartford Region’s budding and most enterprising ventures run by businesswomen and businessmen age 40 and under. For the 2015 Awards, HYPE members nominated businesses for awards in three categories: Business Pre-Launch, for businesses with strong potential for success after launch; Business Launch, for businesses launched since January 1, 2012; and Community Impact, a new category recognizing a community project spearheaded by a young professional. The finalists for and winner of the Community Impact Award are chosen by the public via an online vote.

Finalists in the three award categories for 2015 are:

Business Pre-Launch
 - Bevel Labs: Modernizing messaging for today’s communication through the innovative Burn platform. Mark Donne, CEO.
 - Breakfast Lunch and Dinner: A full-service media and creative agency focused on raising the quality of cultural offerings and output in Hartford by delivering social insight-driven content.  Quenton Narcisse, Founder. 
 - InstaCraft: A DIY online service provider offering personalized, affordable, easy boxed craft kits for wedding decorations and more. Erin Drennan, Founder and Manager. 

Business Launch
 - Bear’s Smokehouse: Setting the standard for BBQ, bringing national attention to Hartford, and setting a social responsibility standard. Cheryl and Jamie McDonald, Co-owners. 
 - Brothers Crisp: Bringing fresh perspectives to traditional craft with tough construction and elegant design. Committed to Parkville’s growing artisan community. Joshua Westbrook, Owner and Shoemaker. 
 - Porter21: An on-demand alcohol delivery service and e-commerce solution for retail liquor stores to optimize the retail liquor industry. Ankit Harpaldas, Founder. 

Community Impact
 - Hartford Athletic Club: Active City: A new collaboration to increase the number of children participating in independent youth sports and recreation programs. Finalist: Jeffrey Devereux. 
 - Night Fall: A project to foster community relationships and artistic celebration, culminating in an annual signature event that combines art, music, dance, and local artist Anne Cubberly’s giant puppets. Finalist: LB Muñoz.
 - Sub Edge Farm: Community Supported Agriculture. A sustainable family farm that grows nutritious, organic food for local families/shareholders and food banks using local materials and employees. Finalist:  Rodger Phillips. 

Awards Ceremony to Be Held April 27
This year's Awards ceremony will be held on Monday, April 27 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Hartford Public Library, 500 Main Street. The event will feature a cocktail reception, presentations from the finalists for the Pre-Launch and Launch Awards, live judging by a panel of community business people and the announcement of the winners in all three categories. It is free and open to the public; registration is requested. To register to attend the Awards Ceremony, click here.

The 2015 HYPE Entrepreneurship Awards are presented by The Hartford. Additional support comes from Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology, Goodwin College and Filomeno & Company, P.C. 


About Hartford Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs (HYPE)
Hartford Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs (HYPE) is an initiative of 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

Media Contact:
Brian Boyer, Vice President of Communications, Marketing, Media and Public Relations