Call for Applicants: BBB Award Recognizes Young Entrepreneurs


For Immediate Release – April 21, 2021 –  Communities across the country have faced unprecedented challenges amidst the coronavirus pandemic. The business community, in particular, has experienced difficult hurdles and northeast Ohio is unfortunately no exception. As communities come together, trust and integrity are more important than ever in our interactions with each other, businesses, and more.

To recognize local entrepreneurs who strive to do the right thing despite these difficult times,  BBB Serving Greater Cleveland is excited to announce its third annual BBB Spark Award competition. The BBB Spark Award recognizes Northeast Ohio entrepreneurs aged 35 and younger whose business is less than three years old and who demonstrate a high level of character, generate a culture that is authentic about its mission, and embed social impact into their business model to support their community.

BBB is partnering with LaunchHouse and Cleveland Jewish News to offer this competition. Three finalists will be chosen; the winner of the Spark Award will receive a $2000 cash prize and the remaining finalists for the Spark Award will also receive a one-year Flex Membership to LaunchHouse, a business whose mission is to build a community where businesses and people come together and grow.

The 2020 Spark Award was awarded to Cocky’s Bagels of North Olmsted, Ohio, for their own dedication to character, culture, and community. In particular, Cocky’s believes in both the importance of being a trustworthy staple in their community and the importance of giving back: “Cleveland, in our eyes, is The Land of opportunity; if you work hard to achieve your goals, you will persevere, and receiving the BBB Spark Award is a perfect example of that. Being an entrepreneur isn’t easy, but it is worth it when you have such strong support from your community.”

“Each year, I am inspired and impressed by our award entrants,”  said Sue McConnell, President and CEO of BBB serving Greater Cleveland. “We have a vibrant entrepreneurial spirit in Northeast Ohio led by successful startup leaders who deserve to be recognized for their contributions.”

“The Spark Award presents the best opportunity to honor a young entrepreneur and reward the positive ethics necessary in running a successful business. We are thrilled to partner with the BBB of Cleveland in presenting this award and promoting the growth of small businesses,” said  Todd Goldstein, CEO and Co-founder of LaunchHouse.

The deadline for entries for the 2020 Spark Award is April 30, 2021. Applying is easy! Applicants should submit a written application and a video (two-minute max) highlighting how their business embodies character, culture, and community. The videos do not have to be professionally produced. In fact, previous entrants have submitted videos created on their cell phones. You can submit an entry, find more information on the award, and nominate a business at: bit.ly/CleSparkAward.