Hundreds will gather Wednesday to celebrate the Kansas City area’s Top 10 Small Businesses and learn which of them will be named the 2022 Mr. K Award winner as the area’s top small business.
The luncheon is the culmination of a process that began with more than 2,100 businesses nominated and moved through months of application reviews and site visits.
“It is a long four- to five-step application process, but it is very satisfactory at the end,” said Neelima Parasker, CEO of Top 10 company SnapIT Solutions LLC. “I wouldn’t see this as a competition. I see it as a partnership with the other businesses.”
Parasker said the support and togetherness of the process helps build up small businesses like her Overland Park-based IT solutions and services company.
Yet even competitors who aren’t included among the Top 10 say they came away with gains.
“It’s such a blast and so much fun,” Shark Off co-owner Shea Geist said. “It also gives us a chance to re-evaluate where we are as a business to see what we are doing well and where we could be better.”
Shark Off creates bands for swimmers and surfers that repel sharks. The non-magnetic bands keep away sharks without harming them. The Mission-based company previously has participated in the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business competition, even participating in a virtual showcase in 2020.
Geist said talk about diversity was a big takeaway from this year’s competition for Shark Off. The company’s only two employees for now are Geist and her husband, Geoff, but the application process reinforced the idea of building a diverse company as it expands.
EAG Advertising & Marketing has participated in the Small Business competition in the past, but held out this year. Owner and CEO Michele Markham said she wanted to work on some areas identified during last year’s process.
Markham and EAG probably understand the value of the chamber Small Business program better than most. The Kansas City-based advertising agency specializes in working with small businesses, and not only has participated in the program, but also is a past sponsor.
“It’s an honor to have our brand associated with Ewing Kauffman, who the Mr. K Award is named after,” she said. “Small businesses don’t get a lot of recognition, so this award is an honor.”
Inno Under 25 is a recognition of the top founders, entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders under 25 in your local ecosystem.
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