ScaleUP! Kansas City Reveals Fifth (!) Cohort

These business owners are primed, pumped and ready to grow. Meet the next 15 companies that will go through the ScaleUP! Kansas City program and get the community, confidence and curriculum they need to accelerate their homegrown Kansas City businesses toward their first million in revenue.

Like their predecessors, this new batch of small business entrepreneurs lead businesses located across the Kansas City metro and represent such varied industries as software development, health education, structural engineering, food, event planning, property restoration and more.

For four months, these 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.

Meet Cohort 5

J Brown, Structural Modeling & Analysis, Kansas City, Mo.
Structural Modeling & Analysis is a boutique structural engineering and laser scanning company with clients and projects worldwide, including an archaeological site in Central America, an embassy in Malaysia, and a warehouse renovation to luxury lofts in Kansas City.

Shanita Bryant, Magnolia’s, Kansas City, Mo.
Under the guidance of Executive Chef Shanita McAfee-Bryant, Magnolia’s offers customized catering and event planning services that feature traditional Southern fare with an elegant, contemporary flair, as well as Magnolia’s on the Move, the food truck sensation travelling about Kansas City. They are also launching a series of cooking classes and a line of food products.

Jessica Corbett, Hitched Planning + Floral, Kansas City, Mo.
Hitched Planning and Floral is an event planning and event floral design studio located in the trendy Westside neighborhood. Founded in 2008, Hitched has created a systemized yet personal approach to the wedding planning process. Hitched also provides unique and cutting edge floral designs that utilize unique and local product to reflect the clients’ personalities.

Chris Goode, Ruby Jean’s Juicery, Kansas City, Mo.
Ruby Jean’s offers fresh fruit and vegetable juices, cold pressed juices and cleanses, custom smoothies, performance shakes and consciously crafted snacks. They are currently building a distribution kitchen and bottling facility which will facilitate cold pressed bottle distribution and an expansion into a grab and go packaged food/snack line.

Reggie Gray, H3Enterprises, Kansas City, Mo.
H3 Enterprise is a health education company powered by technology, entertainment and social media. In the last five years, H3 has performed over 1500 concerts reaching hundreds of thousands of youth. The future of H3 (Healthy Hip Hop) is in an online video platform, mobile app and original music & content for inspiring, measuring and rewarding movement for kids ages 3-12 in elementary schools worldwide.

Gretchen Henry, ConsultUS Technology, Prairie Village, Kan.
ConsultUS Technology is an agile software development and solutions provider. They work with clients to understand their day-to-day business challenges and long-term business vision, identifying pain points and developing a solution that automates where necessary—enabling the client to focus on their business while improving their repeatable processes to become more agile and more efficient.

Marco Listrom, Valdes & Moreno, Inc., Kansas City, Mo.
Valdes & Moreno is registered as a broker-dealer with the SEC (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission) and MSRB (Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board) and a member of FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) and SIPC (Securities Investor Protection Corporation). The firm specializes in underwriting and trading municipal bonds. In addition to Kansas City, the firm has locations in Washington DC, Raleigh/Durham, Chicago and, soon, Pittsburgh. Valdes & Moreno is one of the top Hispanic-owned investment banking firms in the country.

Delbert Olesen, Gold and More Jewelers, Liberty, Mo.
Gold and More Jewelers is a local, family owned and operated jewelry store in the Triangle shopping district in Liberty, Mo. Founded as a gold buying business in 2011, Gold and More Jewelers formed in 2013 after listening to customers’ needs. Gold and More Jewelers wants to become the go to jewelry store in the Northland.

Katie Petty, The Paw Wash, Leawood, Kan.
The Paw Wash LLC was born from the invention of a 12-year-old girl from Louisburg, Kansas in 2002. The Paw Wash LLC is a pet product company dedicated to keeping dogs clean and healthy through their product line. This includes both the large and small sized Paw Washes and The Paw Wash Mitt.

Steve Pope, R2FACT Product Development, Kansas City, Mo.
R2FACT is an on-demand R&D department that develops, supplies and supports unique and innovative product devices for entrepreneurs and established businesses throughout the United States. Founded in 2002, R2FACT guides projects through the phases of development; design, engineering, prototyping and manufacturing with rapid and high quality product development.

Dawn Potts, H20 Window Cleaning, LLC, Lee’s Summit, Mo.
H2O Cleaning (also known as H2O Window Cleaning) is a professional, approachable local firm that focuses on commercial window cleaning, final construction cleaning, and commercial power washing.

Jorge Salazar, Salazar General Contractor, Inc., Kansas City, Kan.
Salazar General Contractor, Inc. specializes in commercial construction services, as well as in-house expertise in the construction of any scale of projects including renovations and tenant finish. They are a member of the BBB, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City and Hispanic Contractors Association of Greater Kansas City.

Heather Spalding, Cambrian, Leawood, Kan.
Cambrian specializes in creating realistic augmented reality for mobile applications and is the leader in augmented reality for DIYers. Their Home Harmony App allows users to find inspiration, collaborate on projects, and visualize their ideas with just a touch of their fingertips by virtually changing paint, flooring and surfaces in real time.

Travis Thonen, Midwest Comfort Homes LLC, Blue Springs, Mo.
Midwest Comfort Homes LLC is a licensed electrical contractor and remodeling company that has been in business since February of 2010. Midwest Comfort Homes believes that it is important to teach customers about their needs and let them make an educated choice, typically resulting in a cost savings for the client. Being honest and open with the customer sets Midwest Comfort Homes apart from the competition.

Marisa Wiruhayarn, M-Power Enterprises, LLC, Kansas City, Mo.
Founded in 2014, M-Power Enterprises, LLC is a woman-owned small business that bottles hot sauce and puts a Thai spin on beef jerky. The company product lines focus on healthy products, such as Primal Cry hot sauce, sweet peanut sauce, and beef jerky. The feature product, Primal Cry hot sauce, is a spicy and sweet Thai chili sauce that is gluten free and does not have any preservatives or MSG.

Where are they now?

ScaleUP! KC has already helped 62 KC business owners hire expand and grow their businesses and their revenue.

Impact surveys show that less than a year after graduating from ScaleUP! KC, alumni reported opening new location, launching additional businesses and growing revenues, sometimes between 35 to even 400 percent. And, within a year, ScaleUP! cohort alumni have reported hiring 50 new full-time employees.

And numerous Scalers have experienced personal success stories. To name just a five:

El Padrino Soccer Nation (Raul Villegas, Cohort 1) is Hallmark’s new partner and the first in the country to sell its Vida line of cards and products.

On the heels of graduating from Pipeline Entrepreneurs and winning a $50,000 LaunchKC grant, FEWDM  (Tommy and Kacie Saunders, Cohort 1) partnered with Pinsight Media to launch its fitness mobile app that features exercises using its suite of fitness products.

Since graduating from ScaleUP! KC in December 2016, Thirsty Coconut (Luke Einsel, Cohort 4) opened a new building in Louisburg, Kansas, tripled its staff and is on course to quadruple sales in 2017 as a nationwide vendor for healthy beverage distribution.

After ScaleUP! KC, Nuñez Marble and Tile (Cohort 3) saw revenue growth of 35 percent in 2016 and has grown to 10 full time employees.

Sage Restoration (Stephanie Sage, Cohort 1) was one of the winners of the prestigious class of Thinking Bigger Business Media’s 2016 25Under25 Honorees, was selected as one of 192 entrepreneurs to participate in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program and increased sales by 65 sales percent (comparing 2014 to 2016 end of year sales).

“When we talk about entrepreneurial development, empowering economic opportunities and ‘growing our own,’ ScaleUP! KC is what we mean,” added Maria Meyers, director of the UMKC Innovation Center. “This program supports, develops and accelerates companies that create jobs and empower futures.”

ScaleUP! KC launched its first cohort of 15 small business entrepreneurs in January 2015, its second group of 17 in July 2015, the third cohort of 16 began at the start of 2016 and the most recent cohort of 17 companies graduated in December 2016. Already, it has seen its graduate companies make early, significant strides with strategic plans, fresh branding, capital infusions, expansions, new employees and notable recognitions.

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.

Want to know more or get your name in for Cohort 6? Visit

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