A group hoping to inspire the next generation of leaders, thinkers and doers has tapped a young entrepreneur with a healthy appetite for expansion as its next KC Innovator Award winner.
Chris Goode, founder of Ruby Jean’s Juicery, is set to be honored with the award Nov. 1 during the Junior Achievement of Kansas City’s signature JA Business Hall of Fame event. The gathering — set for the JA Youth Learning Lab, presented by the Mallouk Family Foundation — also will recognize three new Hall of Fame laureates.
The Innovator Award is presented to those that positively disrupt their industries, create jobs and opportunities and apply innovation to solve critical social and economic problems. The 2022 winner, Goode, now operates three Ruby Jean’s locations across the metro — a flagship store on Troost Avenue, along with a space within Whole Foods Market near the UMKC campus and a newly opened store in Leawood — supporting a growing thirst for his startup’s menu of hand-crafted juices, smoothies, performance shakes and food.
“Chris Goode is a passionate entrepreneur who started his company in 2015 in honor of his late grandmother, Ruby Jean. Goode has made it his life’s work to educate underrepresented communities and integrate the juicing culture in his hometown,” said Junior Achievement, in an announcement of the award. “Ruby Jean’s has also launched a pilot program with Kansas City Public Schools to provide fresh juice to three schools; this is the first program of its kind in the nation.”
Thalia Cherry, founder and CEO of sports and fashion apparel company Cherry Co., was awarded the KC Innovator Award in 2021.
2022 will mark the 22nd year of the JA Business Hall of Fame, which recognizes the efforts and accomplishments of those who are vital in building the past, present and future of the Kansas City economic and entrepreneurial ecosystem. Past honorees include such Kansas City business icons as Gary Fish, Peter Mallouk, Jeanette Prenger, Ewing Kauffman, John Thomson and Neal Sharma.
The 2022 JA Business Hall of Fame laureates include:
- Carlos Antequera, Novel Capital — Co-founder and CEO of Overland Park-based Novel Capital, a revenue-based fintech platform that provides software entrepreneurs with non-dilutive on-demand growth capital and resources. Novel Capital recently raised $115 million in funding.
- Darcy Howe, KCRise Fund — Howe’s accomplishments include building the largest Merrill Lynch Private Banking practice over a 32-year career at the firm. After a two-week “retirement,” Howe built KCRise Fund, a venture capital fund which invests in high-growth technology companies in the region. KCRise Fund is now a top venture fund in the country.
- Fred Pryor, Fred Pryor Seminars — As a result of the overwhelming positive response to Fred Pryor’s teaching through the Dale Carnegie Program, he launched Fred Pryor Seminars, the prototype of a new industry of one-day public seminars, in 1970. In the years since, Pryor has delivered more than 8,000 speeches and his company has helped over 13 million learners and over 3 million businesses.
“The 2022 laureates are exceptional examples of the entrepreneurial spirit that Junior Achievement instills in Kansas City youth each day,” said Megan Sturges Stanfield, president and CEO of Junior Achievement of Kansas City. “When students see the likeness of leaders like Carlos, Darcy and Fred on our walls, they have the confidence to become business leaders and change-makers in the community.”
This story is possible thanks to support from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, a private, nonpartisan foundation that works together with communities in education and entrepreneurship to create uncommon solutions and empower people to shape their futures and be successful.