Bring up almost any cultural, socio-economic or business topic at a dinner and it is likely the conversation will, at some point, turn to millennials. Rather than focus on how millennials are changing the social media landscape or what once-gone fashion trends they’re resurrecting the Better Business Bureau of Dayton and the Miami Valley is focusing on how millennial entrepreneurs are making a difference in the Miami Valley.

The Spark Award, an award for entrepreneurship, recognizes business owners 35 years old and under or business owners of any age that have been in operation for less than three years who demonstrate a higher level of character, are generating a culture that is authentic about their mission and connect with their community.

“BBBs all across the nation have been trying to engage and recognize young entrepreneurs for the value that they bring to our community,” President and CEO John North says. “We look at the character that they have in running their business, the culture they establish within their business with their employees and their consumers, but also the community they created.

“Millennials are notorious for giving back to the community,” North says.

The BBB awarded the first Spark Award to Dayton-area entrepreneurs in 2019 at the 2019 Eclipse Integrity Awards. The 2019 Spark Award recipients include Matthew Sliver of Catapult Creative, Amy Strozier of Goldfish Swim School and Justin Tyler of Scratch Bakery by Justin Tyler.

The 2019 awardees were chosen from a pool of entries and nominations. Applications were submitted to demonstrate in detail how each entrepreneur leads with the values of character, culture and community, as well as to establish that the business was in good standing with the Better Business Bureau, holding a “B” rating or better and having met financial obligations.

Owner and Manager of Goldfish Swim School Amy Strozier saw the Spark Award as an occasion to spread her mission while connecting with fellow entrepreneurs.

“I value any opportunity we can take to celebrate this brand and this family,” Strozier says. “Things like networking and grassroots connections are going to do more than paid advertising ever could.”

Goldfish Swim School provides swim lessons to children using what the company calls “The Science of Swim Play” to give kids a platform to build life skills outside of the water as well. Strozier started as a sales and service manager at Goldfish Swim School, excited about the opportunity to meld her marketing background with her growing passion for her family and children, and became an owner and manager in less than a year. The Spark Award presented an exciting opportunity to continue that forward momentum for her and her community.

“It’s a matter of not being afraid of your passion,” Strozier says. “It’s a great opportunity to keep manifesting your dream.”

The deadline for 2020 Spark Award Nominations is Feb. 3, 2020, and all entries must be sent by March 2, 2020, in time for the 2020 Spark Award class and winners to be announced at the Eclipse Integrity Awards on May 12, 2020.




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