The annual Aspire event, produced by The Metropreneur, took place on Thursday, October 20th at COhatch Polaris, and celebrated the accomplishments of multiple social enterprises and social entrepreneurs in Central Ohio. The event celebrated 10 years this year, having launched as the Social Entrepreneurship Award in 2013 before rebranding to Aspire in 2015 and expanding to feature topical speakers and live interviews to provide helpful information for new startups.
“This year is special for us, as we celebrate recognizing social enterprises through these awards for ten years,” stated Metropreneur co-founder Anne Evans during the opening remarks at the event. “Although the award has shifted from the individual to the organization, the spirit of the awards remains the same — honoring those in our community doing good work through social enterprise.”
Prior to the awards portion of the evening, Metropreneur Editor Susan Post conducted a live interview with Sheri Chaney Jones, Founder & CEO of both Measurement Resources and SureImpact, and Charly Bauer, Executive Director of Measurement Resources. The duo spoke extensively about the value for social enterprises to have measurable data, both to help guide decisions internally, as well as having results available for investors, donors and customers.
Following the interview and audience Q&A session, Susan Post along with SocialVentures CEO Vicki Bowen Hewes, presented the two annual awards.
The three finalists for Emerging Social Enterprise of the Year Award included Cafe Overlook, Petals That Inspire and Rela, with Cafe Overlook being named the winner in the category. The awards was accepted by Cafe Overlook Executive Director Sangeeta Lakhani, President Matthew Heaggans and Treasurer Letha Pugh.
The three finalists for the Social Enterprise of the Year Award included Keepsake T-Shirt Quilts & Blankets, Roosevelt Coffeehouse and Roasters, and Zora’s House, with Keepsake T-Shirt Quilts & Blankets being named the winner of the category. The award was received by a large group of team members from the social enterprise, who communicated their thanks and their touching stories through sign language and interpretation services.
The team at The Metropreneur would like to thank everyone who attended and supported this year’s event, and we invite you to return for the 11th annual Aspire in October 2023.
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All photos by Walker Evans.