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HYPE Honors Entrepreneurship Award Winners


Awards recognize Greater Hartford startups and small businesses

Hartford, CT (PRWEB) April 29, 2013

Hartford Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs (HYPE), an initiative of the MetroHartford Alliance, is pleased to recognize Parle IV, LearnToProgram and Sea Tea Improv as its 2013 HYPE Entrepreneurship Award winners.

“The Greater Hartford Region is home to an active community of young entrepreneurs and we are excited to celebrate their achievements with our Entrepreneurship Awards,” Julie Daly Meehan, Executive Director, HYPE, said. “Each of the winners demonstrated a commitment to innovation and excellence that inspires their peers and we look forward to watching their enterprises grow in the coming years.”

Winner of HYPE's Business Excellence Award and a $2,500 cash prize, Sea Tea Improv performs two monthly improv comedy shows in Hartford. In addition to these public performances, they perform improv comedy shows for corporate events and private parties. Sea Tea Improv recently opened an improv comedy studio in Downtown Hartford where it offers 8-week improv comedy classes, workshops, and recurring weekly drop-in events. Sea Tea Improv also teaches corporate training workshops that use improv skills to improve workplace collaboration and listening. Founded by Julia Pistell of Hartford, Kate Sidley of New York City, Summar Elguindy of Boston, Greg Ludovici of Hartford, John Perez of Wallingford, and Dan Russell and Joe Leonardo of East Hartford, Sea Tea Improv is currently working to expand the educational programming offered at its studio.

Winner of HYPE's Business Launch Award and a $2,500 cash prize, LearnToProgram publishes online courses on web, mobile and game development. Their courses are designed to be completed by the beginning or intermediate developer and have immediate impact on their skillset. LearnToProgram currently offers seventeen courses with multiple others under development. With the publishing model LearnToProgram has built, the company has been profitable every month, created seven jobs here in Connecticut and seen their courses and books sold on some of the world's best online venues. Founded by Mark Lassoff of Westport and owned by Lassoff and Kevin Hernandez of Meriden, LearnToProgram aims to double the number of titles it has published and triple its student enrollment count in 2013.

Winner of HYPE's Business Pre-Launch Award and a $2,500 cash prize, Parle IV designs and sells its own dress shirts directly to consumers online utilizing a web-based e-commerce retail model. Parle IV partners with a hosted e-commerce website solution to run its online store, display products, accept credit card orders and integrates seamlessly into its fulfillment partner to drop-ship orders directly to customers. By foregoing the middlemen in the value chain and the costs of maintaining physical stores, they are able to cut the waste in apparel distribution. As a result, consumers can benefit from high-quality goods at more affordable prices. Founded by Adam Alfin of West Hartford with co-founders Matt Alfin of New Britain, Daniel Johnson of Newington and Jeremy Stambovsky of Manchester, Parle IV is currently test-marketing its products, pricing, styles, colors and more on Kickstarter.

The HYPE Entrepreneurship Awards were made possible with the support of The Phoenix Companies, Inc. (presenting sponsor) and Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology, Filomeno & Company, P.C., and Goodwin College (sponsors). Judges included Tom Buckingham, Executive Vice President Product Development and Operations, The Phoenix Companies, Inc.; Paul Striebel, Procurement Manager and Small Business Incubator Program Administrator, Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology (CCAT); Michael Hill, CPA, CGMA, Supervisor, Filomeno & Company, P.C.; Cliff Thermer, Assistant Vice President, Strategy and Business Development, Goodwin College; and, Michelle Cote, Executive Director, reSET.

In addition to the Entrepreneur Awards, HYPE hosts a variety of professional development and networking events for entrepreneurs throughout the year. To learn more, visit

About Hartford Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs (HYPE)
Hartford Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs (HYPE) is an initiative of the MetroHartford Alliance. HYPE's mission is to help young professionals become better engaged in community life, expand professional and social opportunities and become ambassadors for the Hartford Region. To learn more, visit

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