(FLINT, MICH. – February 26, 2015) Today, the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce and the eTEAM named the 2015 Rising Star and Spark Award recipients during the eighth annual Jumpstart Entrepreneur Conference. More than 100 aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners were on hand at the Holiday Inn Gateway Centre to gain knowledge and inspiration geared toward starting and growing a business.Jump-Start-Logo-2-11-300x52

According to Tim Herman, CEO of the Chamber, today’s Jumpstart Conference provided great exposure for potential entrepreneurs and business owners looking to take their dream to the next level.

“Flint & Genesee offers a wealth of opportunity for aspiring entrepreneurs,” said Herman. “The goal of the Spark and Rising Star awards is to highlight success stories and provide inspiration.  The award recipients are all examples of what happens when a dream is pursued with the right level of preparation and dedication.”

The following new businesses were named Spark Award winners for their growth trajectory and entrepreneurial success:

  •  Carmel Yum Yums, Davison – Carmel Yum Yums is a hulless popcorn that has caramel and other flavor coatings.
  • The Chubby Duck, Flint – a unique small restaurant serving fun, fast and flavorful food, including sushi cones that can be eaten in one bite.
  • Green Couch Games, Flint – a tabletop game company that created The Great Heartland Hauling Company, a life-simulation strategic thinking game for ages 8 through adult.
  • Michigan’s Greatest Fudge & Taffy, Grand Blanc – a maker of handmade, Mackinac Island-inspired fudge, taffy, chocolate-covered pretzels, gift baskets and other sweet delicacies.

In addition, Mt. Morris-based Ally Equipment Solutions received the Rising Star Award as an early stage business that has exhibited growth. Ally Equipment Solutions was started in 2011 to provide custom designed and built ergonomic material handling equipment and tooling.

Mark Rice II, President of Loving Hands Adult and Senior Care Services, was the keynote speaker and drew on his 20-plus years of experience in sales, management and guerilla marketing to grow his business into a multi-million dollar corporation.  Loving Hands is a rapidly growing company that provides Home Health Care, Private Duty Home Care and Adult Day Care services throughout Michigan. It ranks within the top 1 percent among all national home health care agencies.

The Chamber’s eTEAM is a regional collaboration of entrepreneurial service providers working to connect local entrepreneurs and small businesses with resources to promote growth and success. The eTEAM member organizations include:  MI-Small Business Development Center (MI_SBDC), City of Flint, The Career Alliance – Michigan Works! and Metro Community Development in addition to many other service providers.

For more information, visit www.flintandgenesee.org.  Check us out on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.