Another round of trustworthy businesses is recognized.

The inaugural Spark Awards—a Torch Award for Entrepreneurship—began in 2016 as a way to recognize the contributions of Central Ohio millennial entrepreneurs. Better Business Bureau, BBB Center for Character Ethics and Startup Storytellers partnered to rally around young leaders who are shaping their organizations with strong character, building a solid culture, and investing in their community.

In 2017, a new component of the program was created with the inclusion of the Spark Awards Class. The Class was chosen from those entries that clearly and innovatively demonstrated their commitment to their values, mission and civic engagement. Three organizations were then selected to represent the Class of 2017 as those demonstrating the highest level of Character, Culture and Community.

The 2017 recipient companies were selected by an independent panel of judges after reviewing their entries based on the award criteria and in coordination with the Torch Awards for Ethics TRUST! Principles. The recipients of the 2017 Spark Awards were:Bottoms Up Coffee Co-Op, Spotted Cow Coffeehouse and Traxler Printing. The recipients were recognized during the Startup Storytellers event at the Columbus Museum of Art this past spring.

The three were selected from a 2017 Spark Award class of nominees also including Aunt Flow, Lubna Designs, Natural Wood Mirrors, System of Strength, Trinity Refund Processing, Warhol & WALL ST., Whole Home Comfort and VIP Waste Services.

“The 2017 Spark Awards class is an outstanding group of organizations, and the three recipient companies are a shining example of the impact that character, culture and community have not only within the walls of an organization but throughout the community they serve,” said Kip Morse, President & CEO of BBB Serving Central Ohio.

“The Spark Awards have become a key recognition platform for entrepreneurs under the age of 35. BBB has made a smart move to connect and court this elusive audience, and it's paying off as more entrepreneurs learn the value of building trust into all aspects of their company,” said David All, creator and producer of Startup Storytellers.

BBB will continue honoring young innovators of Central Ohio with the third year of the Spark Awards approaching. BBB encourages entries and nominations of millennial entrepreneurial organizations whose leaders demonstrate a higher level of character, generate a culture that is authentic, and connect with their community. Entries and nominations for 2018 will be accepted in February. Visit bbbsparkaward.com for more information on this outstanding program.

Judges for 2017 Spark Awards

Entries are evaluated by an independent, voluntary panel of judges comprised of business and community leaders.

Kip Morse, BBB Serving Central Ohio President and CEO

Lauren Edwards, Next Step Business Consulting Principal

Ann Bischoff, Star House Foundation Director

Adam Koos, Libertas Wealth Management Group President

Allen Proctor, Social Ventures President and CEO

Geoffrey Kunkler, Carlile Patchen& Murphy Attorney