ScaleUP! Kansas City Seeks Top-Tier Small Business Owners Primed to Scale for 13th Cohort

ScaleUP! Kansas City Cohort 12

ScaleUP! Kansas City Seeks Top-Tier Small Business Owners Primed to Scale for 13th Cohort

ScaleUP! Kansas City — a selective, game-changing program, offered at no cost to selected participants — is now accepting applications. Its 13th cohort runs from Aug. 24, 2023, to Dec., 14 2023. Applications are accepted through Aug. 14, 2023, at

“For nearly a decade, ScaleUP! Kansas City has helped KC business owners get the confidence, one-on-one coaching and a professional peer network that they need to scale the region’s next multimillion-dollar businesses and become the next community leaders,” says Jill Hathaway, program coordinator for ScaleUP! KC. “ScaleUP KC is the vital support that fuels these businesses so they can be big economic drivers in our communities.”

ScaleUP! KC helps Kansas City business owners prepare their businesses for scalable growth with a 16-week program that blends high-impact training with expert speakers, peer mentoring and one-on-one business coaching at a time when small businesses need the tools to help them scale and remain resilient for the future.

To be eligible for ScaleUP! Kansas City, business owners need to have:

  • led a company that’s been in business for at least two years and has at least two employees
  • generated annual sales in excess of $250,000
  • created a strong market than can generate well beyond $1 million in sales
  • drive to lead part of the next generation of business leaders in Kansas City

Lessons come from a mix of expert coaches, consultants and their fellow business owners who hail from the tech sector, manufacturing, service industries and many other areas of business.

“The program featured the perfect combination of education about business best practices, industry expert guest speakers and business owner small groups to help us identify challenges and solutions to our biggest small business headaches,” says Elisabeth Megli of Theme Strategic Proposals, which helps businesses with the bid and proposal process. “I loved the knowledge I gained, the coaches, teachers and the camaraderie and encouragement from the fellow small business owners.”

But it’s not just what Scalers learn during the program, it’s the outcomes they see after they implement what they’ve learned, sometimes even seeing results while they’re still enrolled in ScaleUP! KC.

Rickey Leathers, owner of Savvy Salon, gives a talk during ScaleUP! KC
Rickey Leathers, owner of Savvy Salon, gives a talk during ScaleUP! KC.

“During the program, I made significant strides in my business,” says Rickey Leathers of Savvy Salon. “I successfully opened a second location and introduced an innovative membership product. As a result of implementing the strategies and insights I gained from ScaleUP! KC, our revenues have grown tremendously.”

When Rickey first joined the program, his annual revenues were below $300,000, but by the end of 2022, Savvy Salon had surpassed $650,000 and is projecting revenues of $750,000 for 2023.

“We have been able to create jobs, establish a leadership position and improve our financial processes by implementing effective systems. The ScaleUP! KC program truly transformed my thinking and emphasized the importance of dedicating time to work on the business rather than solely in it.”

The program helps business owners forecast revenue and expenses, create value, carve a niche market, hire the right employees and formulate a succession plan. More than 190 alumni like Rickey Leathers and Elisabeth Megli have leveraged the program not only to dramatically increase sales—some to $50 million in revenue—but also to create opportunities to increase their business potential and become true Kansas City business leaders.

Since Dr. Michelle Macrorie completed the program five years ago, her business, Autism from the Start, opened a second location in 2022, expanded from 16 employees to 53 and increased revenue from nearly $700,000 in 2017 to $2.4 million in 2022.

“The lessons ScaleUP! KC taught me have helped tremendously,” she says. “Specialize, live by your core values, document processes and keep them updated, delegate — there are so many great takeaways.”

These stories of opening new businesses, expanding operations, hiring new employees and increasing revenues are common among many alumni of the program.

“ScaleUP! is a really intense program, but it covers everything you need to know about growing your business,” says Brittany Fugate of Cenetric, a leading IT company in the region. “It’s like an accelerated MBA. You learn everything you need to know to really scale your business: leadership, financial, sales/marketing – it covers all the bases. Just during the program, our revenue doubled. And here’s the next jaw-dropping statistic: In the year since I graduated, our revenue doubled again!”

Chris Goodwin of Insurance Pros more than doubled his revenue since he was enrolled in the program in 2017.

“ScaleUP! has been instrumental in the growth of our business,” Chris says. “While my business wasn’t in trouble when I started ScaleUP! KC in 2017, it wasn’t growing, and I didn’t know how to grow. We had $300,000 in revenue in 2017, and now I’m over $700,000 in revenue. Even through COVID and other challenges, we’ve grown and doubled our revenue, and I know that wouldn’t have happened without ScaleUP! KC.”

ScaleUP! Kansas City provides direct support for growth-oriented entrepreneurs and firms that already have a strong foothold, with special emphasis on recruiting under-resourced communities/populations.

ScaleUP! KC is funded by the Missouri Small Business Development Center at the University of Missouri – Kansas City and the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Administrative support and coaching is facilitated by the Missouri SBDC at UMKC, a program of the UMKC Innovation Center.

The application deadline is Aug. 14, 2023. For more information and to apply, visit

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