Editor’s note: The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce is a non-financial partner of Startland News, which serves as the media partner for the Small Business Superstars program.
Two Black- and women-owned ventures were named “fan favorites” Tuesday in a public vote that followed this week’s Small Business Showcase at Union Station. The honors are the first-announced awards of the KC Chamber’s 2023 celebration, which culminates in June with the big reveal: Small Business of the Year.
Fan favorite winners — presented by the Kansas City National Security Campus — included:
- Brown Suga Bakes, Ebony Paul-Harris — An Olathe-based cookie baker with a brick-and-mortar and pop-ups across the city; specializing in “memorable flavor-stories worth indulging in.”
- Caresticks Mobile Phlebotomy, LaVita Green — Provides patients with on-site and mobile phlebotomy services, to grow its staff of specialized phlebotomists, as well as train new ones. (Recent grand-prize winner in the We Are Black pitch competition organized by Kansas City G.I.F.T.)
The two businesses will receive a Member Spotlight from the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, as well as an opportunity for takeover of the KC Chamber’s Instagram account for a day.
Now in its fourth year, the fan favorite awards are determined by an online vote of participants at the KC Chamber’s Small Business Showcase, which on Tuesday brought 67 small businesses and more than 1,000 attendees people to the Grand Hall at Union Station.
Both Brown Suga Bakes and Caresticks remain eligible for other awards — from Emerging Business and Equity honors to the coveted Small Business of the Year or “Mr. K” Award — in the runup to the KC Chamber’s June 14 Small Business Celebration.
RELATED: Route to Mr. K Award runs through Union Station: See which small businesses may have a ticket for Chamber’s top honor
Next up: An announcement April 21 of the Top 10 finalists for Small Business of the Year.
Click here to learn more about the KC Chamber’s Small Business Celebration and awards program.
Finalists are curated from the dozens of award nominees showcased at this week’s event. Eric Wollerman, president of Honeywell Federal Manufacturing and Technology, was among the attendees who met business owners during Tuesday’s gathering.
Honeywell FM&T is an LLC that manages a contract under the Department of Energy for the National Nuclear Security Administration. Through that relationship, it operates the Kansas City National Security Campus — the longtime sponsor of the fan favorite awards and Small Business Celebration.
“We partner with over a thousand small businesses annually, so we want to help support the local small business community — those who already do business with us and others,” Wollerman said Thursday before announcing the winners during a Facebook Live broadcast with the KC Chamber at Spark Coworking in downtown Kansas City.
“A large percentage of our annual spend — 55 percent — is targeted to small businesses. It’s roughly $400 million each year,” Wollerman further detailed, referencing Honeywell’s work through the Kansas City National Security Campus and its government contract.
“We’re really trying to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars. Many times, that takes partnering with the small business community,” he continued. “Our affiliation with the Chamber has been very beneficial.”
Watch the KC Chamber and Kansas City National Security Campus announce the “Fan Favorite” awards below.