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16 KC Companies Prepare their Small Businesses for Big Growth

By Sarah Mote | Jan 19, 2016 |

ScaleUP! Kansas City helps KC businesses aim for their first million in revenue

The ScaleUP! Kansas City program has just welcomed its third cohort of 16 companies. Like their predecessors, this new batch of small business entrepreneurs lead businesses located across the Kansas City metro and represent such varied industries as marketing, communications, retail merchandising, food, fitness, ecommerce, property preservation and more.

“We continue to be impressed by the diverse companies that apply to ScaleUP! KC,” said Jill Meyer, program director of ScaleUP! KC. “We know it fills an important need by providing these already successful business owners with the time, tools, coaching and peer mentors to really focus on effective strategies that will help them scale their businesses and create new jobs.”

For four months, ScaleUP! KC participants are immersed in intensive training that will connect them with subject matter experts and equip them with the strategic perspective necessary to position their businesses for growth.

The third ScaleUP! Kansas City cohort includes:

Scott Carlos, A Cleaner Image Window Cleaning & Tinting, Kansas City, Mo.
A Cleaner Image Window Cleaning & Tinting provides a customized and detailed approach to window cleaning, window tinting, gutter cleaning and Christmas light installation to residential and commercial customers.

Thalia Cherry, Cherry, Kansas City, Mo.
Cherry’s primary product focus is licensed apparel and retail merchandising sporting goods, while also selling major brands and athletic apparel to high schools, colleges and corporations.

Dustan Fankhauser, Excel Lighting & Sign, Kansas City, Kan.
Excel Lighting & Sign is a commercial sign and lighting contractor specializing in two main areas: custom signage design/fabrication for businesses and LED lighting retrofits for commercial properties. They also have numerous distributorships for LED lighting products and sell those products directly through their sister company, Planetbulb.com.

Owen Faulkner, Town & Country Heating and Cooling Co., Lenexa, Kan.
Town & Country Heating And Cooling Co. is a residential and commercial repair and replacement service company serving the greater Kansas City and surrounding areas.

Elaine Hamilton-Bruner, VISION5, Kansas City, Mo.
VISION5 is an award-winning, woman-owned, Hubzone visual services company with extensive experience in video communication and production, graphic design, animation, media training and AV systems design.

Shauna Huntington, Fortiviti, LLC, Lenexa, Kan.
Fortiviti LLC provides accounting operations for small to mid-sized businesses, serving as the corporate office for its clients and managing all aspects of their accounting and finance operations.

Brad McCleary, Bodies Health & Fitness, Lee’s Summit, Mo.
Bodies Health & Fitness offers the complete approach to a healthy lifestyle with the best in personal training, nutrition, massage, chiropractic and several races.

Jill McEnroe, Frannie Franks Coffee Cakes, Independence, Mo.
Frannie Franks is a specialty, gourmet coffee cakery. Each cake is crafted by hand from Frannie’s family recipe, featuring whole ingredients, no saturated fats, no corn syrup, no dairy and no preservatives.

Ron Michka, The Creative Department, Inc., Kansas City, Mo.
The Creative Department, Inc., is a high-level, customized, strategic, business-to-business communications agency. Services include graphic design-driven branding and marketing company, specializing in helping each brand find its “voice” and achieve its business objectives through both corporate communications and print and digital communications.

Alex Nuñez, Nuñez Marble & Tile, Kansas City, Mo.
Nuñez Marble & Tile is a family-owned and operated business created in 2013. They view tile as an art form and do things the right way to create the best work around. Their tile setters have more than 75 years of experience and have been hand-chosen based on their skills and desire to create masterful work.

Douglas Obershaw, SkuTouch Solutions, Lenexa, Kan.
SkuTouch provides services to the benefit of the ecommerce retailing industry. Spanning from consumer goods sourcing, to international transport, to customs clearance, to fulfillment and consumer returns services, SkuTouch offers end-to-end international supply chain solutions. Additionally, US- and Asian-based warehouses services provide a conduit for those items that are required to be delivered more quickly and require in-country support.

Bonita D. Powell, The Brass Pinnacle Group, Kansas City, Mo.
The Brass Pinnacle Group is a leading business management consulting firm providing services and staffing in strategy, operations and IT, specializing in procurement and acquisition services. Since 2002, they have been trusted consultants to Fortune 500 companies, government agencies and nonprofit organizations. Brass Pinnacle is a minority, woman-owned firm, committed to helping clients achieve results, delivered through a flexible, value-driven service delivery approach and tailored to the specific business needs and budget constraints of each client.

Earstin Sanders, E-Sand Lawn Service and Property Preservation, Kansas City, Mo.
E-Sand Lawn Service and Property Preservation cleans foreclosed and distressed properties for market, which is accomplished by hauling debris out of property, cleaning property and refreshing the property through painting and small repairs. E-Sand Lawn also manicures and maintains lawns to give property curb appeal.

Nicholas Segura, Somos Agency, Kansas City, Mo.
Somos Agency is an award-winning, multicultural and Hispanic marketing firm focused on advancing Hispanic marketing beyond the translation from Spanish to English. Somos Agency was created with one primary focus, to help clients develop effective, culturally rich communications for emerging audiences. Clients include FELD Entertainment, which bring Disney on Ice and the Ringling Brothers and Barnum Baily Circus to Kansas City. Additionally, Somos Agency represents Chevrolet, Webster University and Nerium International.

Theresa M. Van Ackeren, Family Bicycles, Kansas City, Mo.
Family Bicycles is a creator of fun adventures for you and your family. They love to help people find just the right bike for their adventures.

Ryan Wing, The Sundry, Kansas City, Mo.
The Sundry is a modern expression of a time-proven tradition: the local grocery. It is a place where consistent quality, friendly service and the best of the region is a daily reality, not a distant memory. Located in the heart of the Crossroads, you’ll find an ever-evolving array of local produce and meats, fresh-baked breads, spices and seasonings, prepared foods and handcrafted products.

A Growing Community of Growing Businesses

ScaleUP! KC launched its first cohort of 15 small business entrepreneurs in January 2015 and its second group of 17 businesses last July. Already, it has seen its graduate companies make early, significant strides with strategic plans, fresh branding, capital infusions, expansions, new employees and notable recognitions.

Among just a few notable achievements: El Padrino Soccer Nation was named the Kansas City, Kansas Chamber’s Small Business of the Year, Maps Coffee Roasters recently finished a coffee-beer collaboration with Boulevard Brewing Company, FEWDM Fitness was featured on fitness star Jillian Michael’s Sweat, Inc. on SpikeTV and three ScaleUP! KC companies, Sage Restoration, Jowler Creek Vineyard and Winery and Weave Gotcha Covered! were recognized among Thinking Bigger Media’s 25 Under 25.

“ScaleUP! KC has been instrumental in providing me with the entrepreneurial skills necessary to grow my business to the next level,” said the first cohort’s Stephanie Sage of Sage Restoration. Second cohort’s Vincent Rodriguez of Velo+ and Maps Coffee Roasters echoed that sentiment: “ScaleUP! KC has helped me have honest conversations about all aspects of my business. It’s been an important step in the right direction to our future success.”

The University of Missouri-Kansas City Innovation Center (UMKC IC) was awarded one of the first ScaleUP! America program contracts nationwide by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The program provides direct support for growth-oriented entrepreneurs and firms to include underserved and underrepresented communities/populations while strengthening the entrepreneurial ecosystem. The result is expected to be measurable economic impact and job growth in local communities.

To be selected for ScaleUP! Kansas City, applicants had to meet the following criteria:

  • Lead a company that has been in business for at least two years
  • Generate revenues less than $1 million
  • Have a strong market than can generate more than $1 million in sales

ScaleUP! fills a gap in the Kansas City entrepreneurial ecosystem to support businesses that have significant revenues but require support and expertise to rise to the next level.  The UMKC IC is poised to boost these businesses to the higher sales and revenue that will yield job creation.

For more information or to apply for the fourth cohort, go to www.scaleupkc.com.

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