Your Top KCSourceLink KC Entrepreneur, Small Business Stories of 2023

Top KCSourceLink entrepreneur stories of 2023

Your Top KCSourceLink KC Entrepreneur, Small Business Stories of 2023

Is that a bird? A plane? NO! These are the top Kansas City entrepreneur stories you couldn’t stop reading in 2023.

These side-hustlers and small business owners performed amazing feats of entrepreneurship, like growing from a home garage to a Main Street store, winning awards, growing a business in the face of COVID, overcoming major life setbacks to found and scale a business and more. These astounding triumphs were all part of the best Kansas City entrepreneur stories of 2023.

If you’re looking to follow in their footsteps, prepare to get inspired because there’s nothing these doers, dreamers and makers can’t do when they put their minds to it. And they didn’t do it alone.

They got help from KCSourceLink’s deep roster of nonprofit organizations that help businesses and side hustles (like yours) start and grow. In fact there are over 230 of these business-building nonprofits across the Kansas City metro, and if you want in on some of that help, here’s your chance: Just give us at KCSourceLink a call at 816-235-6500 from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday – Friday, or tell us what you need online here. We’ll outline your next steps for FREE and connect you with the KC experts and organizations that can help. It’s super easy!

So if you still need some of that inspiration and want to see how the entrepreneurs in our top stories of 2023 rose to the occasion and conquered, read on. And remember: Not all heroes wear capes.

Chris Goodwin of Insurance Pros

12. How ScaleUP! KC Helped Insurance Pros Find a Growth Spurt, Power through the Pandemic

Chris Goodwin, Insurance Pros

Chris knew how to start his health insurance brokerage, Insurance Pros. But even when he was successful, he wasn’t sure how to grow the business. That’s when he found ScaleUP! Kansas City. The program showed him how to approach growth and work on the business, not just in it. In the six years since, he’s more than doubled revenue, even through the pandemic. For Chris, ScaleUP! Kansas City changed everything.

Learn how the KC entrepreneurial ecosystem introduced Chris to the people and programs he needed to grow his business.

Resources used: Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program (HEMP), Olathe Chamber of Commerce, ScaleUP! Kansas City


Mindy Rocha of CJ Industries LLC

11. From Toiling in the Basement to Helping Build the KC Airport: See How This Construction Entrepreneur Did It

Mindy Rocha, CJ Industries LLC

Mindy Rocha grew up helping her pipefitter dad prepare quotes. Now, she owns a growing Kansas City construction firm. CJ Industries LLC has leveraged MBE and WBE business certifications to work on large projects like the new Kansas City airport. But it hasn’t been all smooth sailing. Mindy wasn’t aware of the resources available to entrepreneurs and often did things the hard way. Now she knows better.

See how KCSourceLink Resource Partners and business certifications helped Mindy build her business.

Resources used: Missouri SBDC at UMKC, National Association of Women in Construction, ScaleUP! Kansas City


Morgan Miller Photography 2022

10. Vine Street Brewing Co., Years in the Making, Is about More Than Serving Suds

Kemet Coleman, Vine Street Brewing Co.

​​From abandoned relic to cultural hub: Vine Street Brewing Co.’s journey is a testament to revitalization and resilience. Explore the beautifully renovated 150-year-old building in the historic 18th & Vine Jazz District, now home to a dynamic taproom, outdoor beer garden and the Warren Harvey Art Gallery.

Dive into the story behind Vine Street Brewing Co., and discover how three visionaries turned a dream into reality.


Keeyoung Kim of Chingu and Sura Eats
Photo by Alyssa Broadus

9. Crowdfunding Bolstered This Kansas City Entrepreneur’s New Restaurant amid Unexpected Challenges

Keeyoung Kim, Chingu

Chef-owner Keeyoung Kim, and his business partner David Son, pursued an unconventional funding approach to open their modern Korean eatery, Chingu, in December 2022. Although profits from their other business, Sura Eats, were the primary source of financing, the restaurant launch was also supported by a successful crowdfunding campaign that raised $69,100 in capital from over 100 investors in 60 days.

See how this entrepreneur leveraged an innovative crowdfunding strategy to open his dream restaurant in one of KC’s hottest neighborhoods.


Mark Lukenbill, Mpruv Sports

8. How KC Startup Mpruv Sports Wants to Make Golf, Other Sports More Accessible

Mark Lukenbill, Mpruv Sports

Discover how Mark Lukenbill’s startup, Mpruv Sports, is disrupting the sports education market with its first offering, Mpruv Golf, a groundbreaking app designed to make learning and playing golf easier and more accessible.

Follow Mark’s entrepreneurial journey, from ideation to beta launch, as he received invaluable feedback from the Kansas City community.

Resources used: Digital Sandbox KC, KCSourceLink, Douglas County CORE, Kansas Small Business Development Center at Johnson County Community College.


The SaRA Health team7. See How KC Tech Startup SaRA Health Is Transforming Physical Therapy

Steven Coen, SaRA Health

Dive into the inspiring journey of how SaRA Health, a digital health startup, is revolutionizing patient experiences in physical therapy. Founder Steven Coen’s frustration as a patient sparked a vision to empower patients and enhance therapy engagement.

Uncover the pivotal role of Kansas City’s startup ecosystem in SaRA Health’s growth.

Resources used: Digital Sandbox KC, Missouri Technology Corporation, Techstars Kansas City


Courtney Younglove of Health Partners MD6. Unwitting Kansas City Entrepreneur Leverages Comeback KC Ventures To Help More People with Obesity

Courtney Younglove, M.D., Health Partners MD

After practicing women’s medicine, Courtney Younglove, M.D., discovered obesity medicine. She opened a weight management practice, even though she’d never considered herself an entrepreneur. Wanting to make this care available to more people, Courtney created Health Partners MD, an employee health benefit that pairs with an app. Not a tech person, but thrust into the tech world? No problem, thanks to help from KCSourceLink’s Resource Partners.

Learn how Courtney launched her business with help from UMKC Innovation Center programs and other resources.

Resources used: Comeback KC Ventures, Digital Sandbox KC, KC Digital Drive, Missouri SBDC at UMKC, Pure Pitch Rally


Brittany Fugate of Cenetric

5. Setbacks, Losing Home, Car Led to Accolades, Major, Growth for KC Founder

Brittany Fugate, Cenetric

Instead of following a traditional career path, Brittany Fugate followed her passion. It led her to found Cenetric, which provides IT resources to small- and medium-sized organizations. Growing the company was slow, with some serious potholes along the way. But assistance from KCSourceLink Resource Partners helped Brittany grow as a leader. She focused Cenetric’s efforts and is now scaling up in a big way.

Learn how mentorship and educational opportunities have helped Brittany grow her business.

Resources used: Enterprise Center in Johnson County, Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program (HEMP), ScaleUP! Kansas City


Fahteema Parrish of Parrish and Sons Construction

4. How Parrish and Sons Became the First Black-Owned Firm to Win the Mr. K Award

Fahteema Parrish, Parrish and Sons

Follow Fahteema Parrish’s incredible journey of resilience and determination as she breaks barriers and builds a thriving construction business in Kansas City. From learning the ropes of the construction industry to winning prestigious awards like the Mr. K Small Business of the Year, explore the milestones and challenges that have defined her path to success.

See how Fahteema leveraged Kansas City’s entrepreneurial resources to turn challenges into triumphs.

Resources used: Missouri Small Business Development Center at UMKC’s GROWTH360 program, Missouri Apex Accelerator, AltCap’s NeXt Stage KC program


3. This KC Entrepreneur Couple Started and Grew a Food Business during a Downturn

Cameron and Tameisha Martin, Love is Key Food and Dessert Innovation

Cameron and Tameisha Martin share a belief that cooking and serving people is a gift from God. And they decided that entrepreneurship was the way to break the cycle of poverty for their family. With that foundation, they’ve grown Love is Key Food and Dessert Innovation from a side gig to a successful business. Every step of the way, they focus on supporting their community.

Learn how networking and getting involved in Kansas City’s entrepreneurial ecosystem has helped the Martins build their business.

Resources used: GIFT, Heartland Black Chamber of Commerce, Porter House KC, Urban League of Greater Kansas City


Enterprising Women of the Year Kansas City winners for 20232. 4 Kansas City Entrepreneurs Win Coveted Enterprising Women of the Year Award

Meet the women entrepreneurs who are not only building successful businesses but also paving the way for future generations. Through their leadership, mentorship and community engagement, they are leaving an indelible mark on the entrepreneurial ecosystem. From innovative tech solutions to cutting-edge marketing strategies, these businesses are leading the way in their respective industries.

Discover the pioneering women behind Kansas City’s thriving business scene.


Carolina and Pedro Morales of Quality Framing and Art in Mission, Kansas

1. How a Master Framer Grew a Thriving Kansas CIty Business from a Garage

Pedro and Carolina Morales, Quality Art & Framing

Like so many entrepreneurs, Pedro Morales started his venture in a hotbed of business development: the garage. That was in 2016. Now, Quality Framing & Art has a busy storefront in downtown Mission, Kansas. And Pedro and his wife Carolina both work full time in the business. Guidance from Spanish-speaking Resource Partners around Kansas City has helped this couple reach their entrepreneurial goals.

See how multilingual support helped Pedro and Carolina make their American dream come true.

Resources used: Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City, Hispanic Economic Development Corporation of Greater Kansas City, Kansas Small Business Development Center at Johnson County Community College, The Toolbox: Small Business Resource Center

> > > Inspired to start that side hustle or take the next step with your business? We got you. Just call us here at KCSourceLink at 816-235-6500 or tell us what you need online, and we’ll craft your next steps for free and connect you with the business experts and resources that can help.

Share this post