Success Stories2018-07-19T11:11:41-05:00
March 12, 2019

KRockArt Launches from a Love of Painting

Kristen Rock Chouinard left a corporate career on the chance that she could turn her passion into a new business. Today, her love for painting has evolved from a therapeutic and creative outlet into an entrepreneurial quest with KRockArt. “When I create, one of my many hopes is
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February 13, 2019

Jen Rarey Harnessing Creativity

Jen Rarey was enjoying a successful eighteen-year career as a Creative Director at Hallmark when her name was among the hundreds who found themselves suddenly unemployed in the Hallmark layoff of 2015.  While she knew layoffs were coming, she thought her position was secure, but she was wrong. 
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January 11, 2019

The Brewkery Taps Handcrafted Kombucha

Taste a handcrafted, artisanal kombucha and meet the founders of this Lucky Elixir at The Brewkery, a kombucha brewery in the Northland. Founded in 2015 by Amy Goldman and Sean Galloway, The Brewkery opened with a mission to make great tasting, handcrafted, artisanal kombucha that is local, healthy
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December 12, 2018

Lightworks Tackles Growth and Balance

When Kathi Vandel started Lightworks, Inc. in 2002, she wanted a business that created balance between light and dark, art and engineering and most importantly, work and family. “The backbone of our company rests on the concept of balance,” she said. “That’s why the company was formed, and maintaining
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November 12, 2018

M-Power Enterprises builds from Primal Cry

Marisa Wiruhayarn’s entrepreneurial journey began when she left Thailand in the early 1980s for a fresh start in the United States. But it would be many years later before her spicy Thai hot sauce would truly launch her into a business of her own. Shortly after coming to
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October 12, 2018

The Business of Inclusion & Diversity

I joined Dionne King on a rainy weekday at Quay Coffee in the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art. As always she looked like she was ready to meet with the top brass of a major corporation. That wasn’t far from reality. She only had a few minutes for
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September 14, 2018

New Owner Positions for Growth

Stella Crewse started at the bottom in a male-dominated industry. She worked her way up from part-time bookkeeper, learning everything she could about the plumbing business in her 14 years at Morgan Miller Plumbing. Then in 2017, she bought it. Crewse began the business transition by enlisting the
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August 15, 2018

Teen Entrepreneur Aims High

High-achieving, eighteen-year-old Erin Smith will not be following her friends to college this fall. Instead, she’ll delay her entrance to Stanford University to take the next step in developing her medical technology venture, FacePrint. For the past two years, Smith has been working with the UMKC Small Business
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July 9, 2018

A Cut Above

Dane Casey and his wife moved to Kansas City from San Francisco, California in 2017 to pursue his dream to open Venturemen Barbering Shoppe. After years of research and training Dane will celebrate a grand opening this summer in the crossroads arts district of Kansas City. Dane’s passion
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June 13, 2018

TicketRX makes it easier to resolve traffic tickets

Everyone hates getting a traffic ticket and then trying to resolve it without going to court. But for over-the-road truck drivers, an unresolved traffic ticket can mean lost income or a lost job. Bryan Shannon’s own experience as a college student led him to create TicketRX to make
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May 14, 2018

iShare Medical creates records in one secure file

What if your medical records could follow you from doctor to specialist to hospital and always be complete, secure and easily shared? That’s the concept behind iShare Medical, a Kansas City based company that has grown with the assistance of the UMKC Small Business & Technology Development Center
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April 11, 2018

Midwest Comfort Homes helps homeowners after a disaster

A traumatic childhood experience ultimately led Travis Thonen to start his own business to help others restore their houses after fire, water, smoke and hail damage. “I personally went through an experience with my family many years ago when our family home in Raytown, Missouri almost burnt to
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March 15, 2018

Couples prep for big day with Hitched Planning + Floral

Hitched Planning + Floral is the inspiration of two creative spirits who combined their event planning and floral design talents into beautiful weddings and special occasions. What started 10 years ago as an idea for a home-based studio has grown into a successful business with a Westside Kansas
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January 16, 2018

Local Artist Creates Business From Iconic Kansas City Scenes

When Bernadette “Bernie” Lee could no longer lift a case of wine because of a shoulder injury, she left the wine industry after 30 years and turned her painting hobby into a successful business. With Art From Architecture, Lee paints and sells renderings of iconic Kansas City landscapes,
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April 4, 2017

Mighty Good Solutions has a handle on business

Lugging 10 grocery bags up three flights of stairs every week got Ben Rendo thinking there had to be an easier way to carry multiple bags. His big idea – the Mighty Handle – is a simple solution and the first product of Mighty Good Solutions.   To
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March 9, 2017

CatCoq talks about Art that Sells

Cat Coquillette, a recent graduate of FastTrac NewVenture with the Urban Business Growth Initiative scholarship is ready to help you learn how to create art that sells. You can join her for the first class on Skillshare for a course dedicated to teaching artists and designers tips to boost their passive
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March 9, 2017

Velo Garage and Tap House

Sip a cold, craft beer while you get your bike fixed When Kiley Sutter opened VeloWagon as a mobile bicycle repair shop in a 1969 Volkswagen bus, he found a winning combination: bikes and beer. Now two years later, he’s expanding into Velo Garage and Tap House in
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February 22, 2017

Hip-Hop duo goes high tech with educational start up

How can you capture the attention of kids, have fun and teach a lesson? Try hip-hop! That’s the idea behind H3TV, a local tech business whose owners first approached the Small Business & Technology Development Center (SBTDC) last year about reworking their business strategy. Now, they are focused
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