Award Recognizes Early-Stage Organizations for Ethics Better Business Bureau of Greater Maryland is accepting nominations and applications for the Spark Award, a new local program that honors young companies dedicated to maintaining an ethical workplace. BBB, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in Md. last year, monitors, publishes reports on, and accredits businesses based on its eight Standards of Trust. While BBB warnings and alerts about substandard business behavior and fraud often make headlines, the Spark Award follows in the tradition of the organization’s Torch Awards for Ethics. These annual award programs pay tribute to businesses that demonstrate the highest commitment to honesty and integrity according to BBB Standards. “We adopted the Spark Award to acknowledge entrepreneurs who are devoted to building ethical practices at the center of their business,” said Angie Barnett, president/CEO of BBB. “By focusing on values that foster trust early on, they are building a foundation for lasting customer relationships and positioning their organizations for long-term success.” A team of independent judges will evaluate applicants based on a set of three criteria, character, culture and community. To qualify for a Spark Award, a business or non-profit must be located in Greater Md., and have served customers for five years or less. Additionally, the organization must be eligible for a BBB rating of B or better. Anyone can nominate a business for the award and eligible organizations may also self-apply. When nominated by a third-party, BBB will contact the nominee with a link to the online application. There is no cost to apply. BBB Accreditation is not a requirement and does not affect an applicant’s standing. Businesses are asked to complete a short, online application. In addition, they must submit a three-minute video that tells the story of how their company lives out the three criteria. The video can be created by the owner or his/her team with a good cell phone camera and tripod. At the judges’ discretion, multiple winners may be selected. The launch of the BBB Spark Awards will be celebrated at a series of happy hours hosted by local incubators, where businesses can start their applications and videos. These events will occur on the following dates and locations:June 6: Spark Baltimore – 8 Market Place, Suite 300, BaltimoreJune 13: Maryland Center for Entrepreneurship - 9250 Bendix Road, ColumbiaJune 21: Homebase - Clipper Mill, 2031 Clipper Park Rd #107, BaltimoreFor more information about BBB of Greater Maryland or the Spark Award visit go.bbb.org/md-spark or call 410-400-4BBB.