Fifteen area entrepreneurs have primed their local companies for the next step of their expansion.
The group of local business owners has been selected as the ninth cohort of ScaleUP! Kansas City, a program that provides support for growth-oriented businesses.
ScaleUP! KC provides qualified companies with revenue of more than $150,000 to reach their expansion goals. The program is funded through a grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and administered by the University of Missouri-Kansas City Innovation Center.
“ScaleUP! KC has proved year after year that it’s such a powerful program for the small business owners who make this metro a great place for entrepreneurship,” says Jill Meyer, program director of ScaleUP! KC. “This program has shown us, time and time again, that not only can you start a business in Kansas City, but you can also scale it here. The limits, really, are as high as your ambition.”
This newest cohort brings the total to 141 Kansas City business owners who have participated in the free program, which has allowed them to create processes, strategies and long-term plans to not only grow but also to scale their businesses.
The pipeline between ScaleUP!’s past cohort participants and Thinking Bigger’s 25 Under 25 award-winners has been robust: Companies that are ScaleUP! as well as 25 Under 25 alumni include Fresh Approach Cleaning Professionals (Second Cohort; Honoree 2019), Jowler Creek Winery (First Cohort; Honoree 2016), Midwest Comfort Homes (Fifth Cohort; Honoree 2019) and Thirsty Coconut (Seventh Cohort; Honoree 2018), along with many others.
The ninth ScaleUP! Kansas City cohort includes:
Amie Bristol, HMC Performance Coatings, Tonganoxie
HMC Performance Coatings is a woman-owned, award-winning media-blasting and powder-coating facility serving custom, commercial and industrial clients.
Cate DePrisco, The Photo Bus, Kansas City, Mo.
The Photo Bus, founded in 2012, is a photo booth company offering a customizable on-site photo experience for event attendees in both print and digital. It also licenses the concept, which began as a photo booth in a Volkswagen bus, to other cities across the U.S.
Ellie Forouzesh, Artin, Overland Park
Artin is a structural engineering consulting firm that specializes in designing different types of buildings—including commercial, mixed-use and industrial—and offers inspections. The WBE-certified company has professional engineer licensing from 11 states and has worked on projects nationally.
Natasha Griswold-Friends, Elder Hair Care, Kansas City, Mo.
Elder Hair Care offers a luxury salon and spa service experience to senior communities. The founder has 17 years of experience and has managed and owned salons that serve other communities. Now, with EHC, she is giving a voice for the elderly and empowering aging populations.
Carrie Kiefer, Ampersand Design Studio, Mission
Ampersand Design Studio is an art and design studio. Created by two art school friends—Carrie Kiefer and Morgan Georgie—the company’s signature bold surface pattern designs have appeared on stationary, home décor and fashion and textiles for clients, such as Crate & Kids, Target, Hallmark Cards and West Elm. The company also sells products in shops across the U.S.
READ MORE: Designer duo grows in entrepreneurship
Rena Krouse, Green Bee KC Tea Towels, Kansas City, Mo.
Green Bee KC produces high-quality, affordable kitchen towels with a vintage feel. Founded in 2015, the brand has grown to over 500 wholesale accounts in all 50 states.
Mike Linn, Linn Construction, Kansas City, Mo.
Linn Construction specializes in renovation and capital improvement services for the single- and multi-family residence investment space. In addition to construction management and local market expertise, Linn Construction offers investment clients the ability to analyze and track investment funds. The company has completed more than 540 renovation and new construction projects.
Chris Matsch, Messenger Coffee Co., Kansas City, Mo.
Messenger Coffee Co. creates artisan-level roasts from the best coffees available while taking care of its coffee farmers in a way that goes above and beyond the status quo. Its coffees are beyond fair trade and manually roasted in small batches in Kansas City.
Jy Maze, Maze Freight Solutions, Overland Park
Jy Maze, president of Maze Freight Solutions, has been in transportation and supply chain management for over 10 years. Her sales success with large and small companies, along with the lack of diversity in the industry, led to the founding of Maze Freight Solutions in 2017. The company, which emphasizes integrity, quality and superior customer service, has experienced phenomenal growth since its inception.
Ann Packingham, InnovaPrep, Drexel, Mo.
InnovaPrep is a manufacturing company. Since 2009, it has developed a suite of instruments for modern microbiology. The company’s 35 awarded and pending patents enable faster, easier and better detection of microorganisms for a wide range of biomonitoring applications that help people and animals live safer, healthier lives.
Heath Porter, The Chop Shop, Independence
The Chop Shop is a full-service creative graphic design and cutting company that specializes in embroidery, screen-printing, apparel design, die-cutting and heat-transfer graphics. The Chop Shop’s prior work includes stage uniforms for local rapper Tech N9ne, corporate apparel for Dannon Yogurt and shirts sold in stores, such as Hy-Vee. The company prides itself on over 40 years of design experience.
Amber Reed, Resolve, Prairie Village
Resolve Counseling & Wellness is a private practice that reimagines how counseling services are accessed in the Kansas City area. The counseling office offers specialized services, no waiting lists, online booking, clinical education and community outreach. Resolve’s mission includes providing services at the time of need, removing the barriers to seeking help and offering immediate care and affordable options. Resolve therapists and counselors work with families and individuals who need healing, growth and change.
Joe Speicher, Easton Roofing, Kansas City, Mo.
Easton Roofing is a contracting business located in historic Westport. Easton Roofing has provided residential and commercial roofing, insulation and gutter services in the Kansas City metro and in Lawrence since it opened in 2014. A focus on customer service has allowed Easton Roofing to become one of the most highly rated contractors in the market.
Andrew Syrios, Stewardship Investments, Kansas City, Mo.
Stewardship Investments LLC is a real estate investment and property management company founded in 2011. Today, Stewardship Investments LLC owns over 300 houses and nearly 500 total units and has revenues that exceed $3 million a year. It was named one of the Kansas City Business Journal’s Fast 50, appeared on Ingram’s list of Top 100 Private Companies in Kansas City and made the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing private companies nationwide.
Chris Vanderloo, Lucky Day, Mission
Lucky Day is a content creation studio with operations in the Kansas City area and Portland, Ore. It specializes in moving images with a focus on post-production. Lucky Day guides projects from concept to completion, including editorial, motion graphics, color and sound. Partnering with agencies, brands and individuals, Lucky Day delivers high-quality branded and original content.