Support Us Button Widget

Meet Lakeland’s titans of industry: The winners of the 5th Annual Lakeland Entrepreneur Awards

The annual award ceremony hosted by Catapult celebrates four individuals or businesses in the Lakeland community that have made an impact — keep reading to see who won at the Lakeland Entrepreneur Awards.

Four people stand next to each other on a stage behind a podium and smile.

Nate and Mike of Mike & Mike’s Desserts accept their award.

Catapult Lakeland hosted its 5th Annual Lakeland Entrepreneur Awards on Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024. With a keynote address from Jeff Hoffman — an award-winning global entrepreneur and CEO — the co-working space known for launching Lakeland’s startups honored local entrepreneurial movers and shakers in four categories.

Entrepreneur Champion — Abbas “AJ” Jaffer, Lakeland Economic Development Council

This award goes to a person or company from the Lakeland community who has intentionally taken the time to invest in the development of entrepreneurs. They have provided mentorship, support, and guidance to entrepreneurs navigating a business start-up.

Other nominees: Diana Cortez, DOU Bakehouse + Ian Gutoskie, Hem Healer

People’s Choice — Jaci + Mason Moore, Moore Juice

The People’s Choice Award winner is a Lakeland entrepreneur nominated by their community. Catapult conducted an open call, and Lakeland voted from a pool of finalists to select the 2024 winner.

Other nominees: Cindy Skop, Kitty Cat Lounge + Brittany Bandi and Jared Craig, Sow Exotic

Catapulter of the Year — Gabi and Gio Favilli-Vigoreaux, Bandidas Bake Shop + Fred Koehler, Ready Chapter 1

Winning in a tie, these Catapult members are in their first few years of operating but have already experienced significant success. These entrepreneurs have proven to be visionaries and strategic leaders in how they have started and begun to scale their businesses. They have demonstrated humility and willingness to learn that is inspiring to those around them.

Other nominees: Honor Bradono, NEXYAN Technologies

David Lyons Entrepreneur of the Year — Nate Kendrick and Mike Mitchell, Mike & Mike’s Desserts

This award goes to a previous or present Catapult Member who successfully manages a business and exhibits strong entrepreneurialism, creativity, innovation, passion, perseverance, and risk-taking. This awardee is a trailblazer in their field and is committed to pouring back into the Lakeland community.

Other nominees: Zach Eikenberry, Hook Security + Rima Schillinger, Vegetation Café & Kitchen

More from LALtoday
We’ve got details and a map full of drink deals: We’ll be highlighting the vibrant beverage scene across Lakeland, FL from July 22 to July 26, 2024.
What you need to know about Lakeland’s club roller derby league + how it’s working to change the face of contact sports.
Celebrate the role that the arts play in overall health + wellness with Lakeland’s inaugural Arts and Health Week, happening July 22 to July 27, 2024.
I scream, you scream, we all scream for — you get the point. Check out this list to find your perfect scoop, sandwich, sundae, or snowball.
Here’s what you need to know as the mayor, commissioners, and city staff determine the FY 2025 budget.
It’s no secret that Lakeland is home to vast amounts of wildlife, but what do you do if you see a species that’s hurt or out of the norm? Consider this your go-to resource.
We’re traveling back to the Golden Age to learn about Lakeland’s oldest indoor movie theater, and how it continues to be a place “where historic is cutting edge.”
Compare the cost of living for Lakeland, FL with national averages + understand how expenses in Lakeland stack up against other cities.
Whether you’re looking for a spot that’s surrounded by nature or bathed in the shade, consider one of these spots next time you’re looking to dine al fresco.