ScaleUP! Kansas City Announces 11th Cohort of 20 Scaling Entrepreneurs
The ScaleUP! Kansas City program, now in its sixth year, announced its 11th cohort of 20 local companies who will get the coaching, perspective and connections to scale, create new jobs, open new locations, develop resiliency for the future and strengthen the regional economy.
Like the business owners from the previous 10 ScaleUP! KC cohorts, these newest scaling entrepreneurs lead small businesses across the Kansas City region and represent diverse industries, such as security, marketing, fitness, construction, insurance, tech, sanitation, education and more.
ScaleUP! KC is offered at no cost to participants because of generous support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and the U.S. Small Business Administration.
“Year after year, ScaleUP! Kansas City transforms the top-tier business owners who complete the program: It refocuses their perspective from working in their business to working on their business,” says Jill Hathaway, program director of ScaleUP! KC. “This intensive program has had a profound impact on the small businesses it serves during the 16 weeks and long after the course ends. The tools, coaching and connections help them navigate unexpected twists and turns with confidence and a clear plan.”
Including this newest cohort, 175 Kansas City-area business owners have participated in this selective program. ScaleUP! KC helps them create the processes, strategies and long-term plans to not only grow but also to scale their businesses and be equipped and ready for shifts and opportunities. Awards, revenue increases and business growth are common headline-grabbing results of the entrepreneurs who complete ScaleUP! KC — but so are the inspiring stories of how the program has helped them navigate obstacles during the first year of the pandemic.
How ScaleUP! KC primed alums for success
When many Kansas City businesses were forced to shut down in early 2020, Patricia McCreary of Margaret’s Place Adult Recreation and Wellness Center was ready.
“Because of ScaleUP! KC, I had a plan,” says McCreary, who runs a business that is vital for the many seniors and people with disabilities it serves.
She says she applied for and later received business grants, a PPP loan and an SBA loan so she could continue to pay her employees and keep her doors open. Additionally, she partnered with local businesses, churches and fellow ScaleUP! Kansas City alums to create a hotline that seniors and people with disabilities can call to have groceries, hot meals and COVID-19 supplies delivered to their door. McCreary also started a company that transports those she serves and is also working to build an online adult day care platform to help those who need her services.
“ScaleUP! KC taught me to think like a CEO,” McCreary says. “Instead of wondering how things might turn out, I was ready to face COVID head-on and viewed it as an opportunity knocking on the door.”
Thalia Cherry of Cherry Co. says because of the connections she made through ScaleUP! KC, she had what she needed to pivot her sports fashion company and open a new retail location.
“The ScaleUP! Kansas City network has been extremely valuable during these difficult times,” Cherry says. “The network has been a great sounding board.”
Cherry also was named one of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Top 10 Small Businesses of the Year and won the 2020 Diverse Small Business of the Year Award from the chamber. On top of all that, Cherry says she was positioned to extend her brand to three additional retail outlets.
“The ScaleUP! KC family has provided a safe space to take risks and learn from other entrepreneurs who are cheering alongside you,” Cherry says. “The coaches are extraordinary and honest in helping you shape business decisions and are an extension of your business family.”
ScaleUP! Kansas City alum Travis Thonen of Midwest Comfort Homes says the program helped him realize that he should close the electrical side of his business so he could focus on restoration — a change that has made his operation more resilient and primed it to scale.
“It was the best decision I’ve ever made for my company,” Thonen says.
Among the list of honors, Thonen’s company ranked No. 4 on Ingram’s Corporate 100 and boasted an 800% increase in gross revenue from 2015 to 2018.
Hathaway says these are just a few success stories from alums of the program.
“ScaleUP! KC companies make headlines, create jobs and are key parts of the engine that drives the economy in the Kansas City region, especially at a time when we need to prime businesses for future success so they can continue to be vital pillars that anchor our community,” Hathaway says. “I can’t wait to see what these next 20 Scalers and their businesses will accomplish.”
Announcing Cohort 11
The 11th ScaleUP! Kansas City cohort includes:
Tony Blogumas - Green Resources Consulting, Cleveland, Missouri
Brian Butner - NPB Companies Inc., Kansas City, Kansas
David Chavez - INGEÑUITY, Olathe, Kansas
Jocelyn Cohenour - Studio7 Pilates + Barre, Prairie Village, Kansas
Isaac Collins - Yogurtini, Kansas City, Missouri
Samantha Comer - Niftiest Construction Provider LLC, Kansas City, Kansas
Nicole Feltz - Nicole L. Feltz Agency, American Family Insurance, Overland Park, Kansas
Blair Hauser - Marquette Physical Therapy, Leawood, Kansas
Renee Jones - Patrick's Heating and Cooling Supply, Kansas City, Missouri
Maria Kunstadter - The TeleDentists, Kansas City, Missouri
Toni Laban - Pacific Sanitation Services, Kansas City, Missouri
Audrey Mathis - Lumen Touch, Kansas City, Missouri
Corey Phillips - Trilogy Sports & Fitness, Kansas City, Missouri
Andrew Powell - State Line Door & Lift, Grain Valley, Missouri
Kristen Rising - Rising Construction Services Inc., Grain Valley, Missouri
Randy Robbins - J&C Auto Glass, Raytown, Missouri
Von Walker - Clean It All, Independence, Missouri
Caleb Walston - Walston Door Company LLC, North Kansas City, Missouri
Sanford Willis - Willis Willis and Sons LLC, Kansas City, Missouri
AbdulRasak Yahaya - Open Minds Child Development Center, Olathe, Kansas
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