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InstaCraft, Bear’s Smokehouse BBQ, and Night Fall Win 2015 HYPE Entrepreneurship Awards

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

Photo by Alex Syphers

Hartford, Conn. (May 1, 2015)
– Two new businesses and an innovative community project received honors at the 2015 HYPE Entrepreneurship Awards ceremony on Monday evening at the Hartford Public Library. Six finalists - three in the Business Pre-Launch and three in the Business Launch category – gave five-minute presentations to a panel of judges to determine the winner, and the results of an online vote determined the winner of the Community Impact Award.

In the Business Pre-Launch category, the award went to InstaCraft, a DIY online service provider offering personalized, affordable, easy boxed craft kits for wedding decorations and more. Erin Drennan, Founder and Manager, accepted the award.

Bear’s Smokehouse BBQ won the Business Launch category. Bear’s aims to set the standard for BBQ, bringing national attention to Hartford with a social responsibility component. Jamie McDonald, Co-owner of Bear’s, accepted the award. 

An online vote in the new Community Impact category selected Night Fall as this year’s winner. A project to foster community relationships and artistic celebration, Night Fall culminates in an annual signature event that combines art, music, dance, and local artist Anne Cubberly’s giant puppets. LB Muñoz of Night Fall accepted the award.

Hartford Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs (HYPE), an initiative of MetroHartford Alliance, presents the Entrepreneurship Awards to engage and recognize the Hartford Region’s budding and most enterprising ventures run by businesswomen and businessmen age 40 and under.  The judges for 2015 included 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.; and Alan Kreczko, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, The Hartford.

The 2015 HYPE Entrepreneurship Awards were presented by The Hartford. Additional support came 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

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