In announcing its latest class, the ScaleUP! KC incubator embraced its track record of helping Kansas City entrepreneurs develop the business skills needed to take the next steps on their journeys.
Now on its seventh cohort, the program has graduated 92 business owners, including startups like The Sundry, Ruby Jean’s Juicery, Cambrian Tech, H3 Enterprises (Healthy Hip Hop) and MusicSpoke.
“ScaleUp KC is a program designed to help entrepreneurs rapidly scale their businesses,” said Jennifer Rosenblatt, co-founder of recent graduate MusicSpoke. “We have aggressive growth goals and knew we couldn’t do it alone. ScaleUP KC provided us with the tools and mentorship to move us to the next level. My mentors worked with me extensively to prepare my pitch for LaunchKC and Digital Sandbox, resulting in grants awarded from each organization.”
With two cohorts per year, the program helps qualified businesses with revenues above $150,000 reach their expansion goals by leveraging and expanding existing proven programs, synergies and connections in the Kansas City region, according to ScaleUP!
“Each business is different, so scale may come from product offerings, geographic growth of locations, shifting a revenue model, streamlining processes, etc.,” said Jill Meyer, ScaleUP! program director. “ScaleUP! gives an entrepreneur dedicated time to consider this, hear from experts, work through plans with coaches and gain a group of lifelong peer advisers after their cohort ends.”
Entrepreneurs in ScaleUP!’s seventh class include:
- Vince Barreto, PowerPlus Cleaning Systems, Blue Springs, Missouri
- Richard Brewer, Kornerstone Contracting Specialists LLC, Belton, Missouri
- Larry Carr, Bradford Interior Group, Raytown, Missouri
- Pete Casey, KC North Spine and Joint Center, Kansas City, Missouri
- Brett Davis, Command.App, Overland Park, Kansas
- Shawn Davison, Kansas City Board Game Company, LLC, Kansas City, Missouri
- Don Derry, K.C. Waterproofing, Inc., North Kansas City, Missouri
- Joel Gerhardt, Epic Bike and Sport, Kansas City, Missouri
- James Hayworth, Beyond Exchange, Lees Summit, Missouri
- Ana Nubia Hernandez, La Mega Radio Station, Overland Park, Kansas
- Tiffany King, SouveNEAR, North Kansas City, Missouri
- Mike Knopke, KC Shave Co, Overland Park, Kansas
- Raina Knox, Stratex Solutions, LLC, Lees Summit, Missouri
- Michelle Macrorie, Autism from the Start, Lenexa, Kansas
- Angela Turner, Simmons Security & Protection Services, Inc., Kansas City, Kansas
- Roger Wagy, Tick Tock Escape Games, Overland Park, Kansas
- Gabrielle Wallace, Go Natural English, Independence, Missouri
- Christina Williams, Posh Restoration Facilities, Kansas City, Missouri
Travis Thonen, ScaleUP! graduate and owner of Midwest Comfort Homes LLC, in Blue Springs, Missouri, emphasized the benefits of taking advantage of some of Kansas City’s top talent through the program.
“The amazing teachers and coaches opened my eyes to changes that were possible in my business,” he said. “I’m happy to say after a full calendar year now from graduation we have increase our profit for year end by 330 percent. Totally worth the effort to learn what they have to teach.”
Members of the cohort also develop a fellowship with one another that lasts long after the class concludes, Rosenblatt said.
“Nothing can replace the bonds formed with other founders. We all have experiences we can bring to the table and we all have problems we need help solving,” she said. “Our peer-to-peer round tables were like therapy sessions for business owners. Plus, we have the extensive network of founders from all of the previous cohorts as well.”
ScaleUP! is funded through a grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and administered by the UMKC Innovation Center.