2011 Emerging Businesses EDGE Awards Winners
The ISBDC EDGE Awards celebrate Economic Development & Growth through Entrepreneurship. EDGE Award recipients fall into one of two categories: Emerging or Established businesses. Eligibility is limited to clients of the ISBDC who in the past year have received one-on-one confidential counseling with a trained ISBDC Business Advisor, participated in ISBDC programs, or used ISBDC tools and business resources. EDGE Award recipients have been selected locally by the regional ISBDC staff who work directly with the business. Congratulations to the 2011 Class of Emerging Business EDGE Awards Winners.
Franc Perrelle first came to the ISBDC in November of 2010 seeking help with starting up a food delivery business in Bloomington. The WC ISBDC initially assisted Franc with a business feasibility analysis and help with the legal and governmental aspects of starting up. After the first meeting, Franc decided to use the Business Plan Pro software package to write his business plan. In four counseling sessions over the next three months, Franc completed his plan and received assistance and feedback on topics ranging from market analysis to financial projections. During this time, the ISBDC provided First Research reports, ESRI demographic reports and ProfitCents reports in conjunction with counseling to strengthen Franc’s plan.
He utilized his own assets to fund the startup of Btown Delivers which opened in February 2011. Btown Delivers provides delivery services for restaurants that typically do not have their own delivery service via online orders at www.btowndelivers.com and phone orders. Since the company’s startup, the WC ISBDC has assisted in operations, marketing and future strategic growth planning. Btown Delivers has steadily grown from the initial startup one-person operation to five drivers as of November 2011. The company utilized its own resources and strengths to expand into a new market niche providing delivery and logistics services for medical offices in several cities in Southern Indiana in the second half of 2011. They are currently planning on expanding both their restaurant and medical delivery business to other cities in Indiana in 2012.
Scott Hutslar came to the Southwest ISBDC for assistance in reviewing his business plan which included his financial projections and to discuss financing options for the purchase of a franchise, Cell Phone Repair. The SW ISBDC helped review the financials of the business plan, provided him with some answers on local licenses and passed on some names for his facility remodeling. Scott was able to open the business on January 2011 with three full time employees and is looking to expand into Jasper.
West Lafayette, IN
Their business idea was Echo Karaoke, Purdue’s Premier Karaoke & Lounge, with the target market being Asian Purdue students. Their advantage is the karaoke machines that have been imported from Hong Kong that provide family-style entertainment with over 70,000 songs.
The HH ISBDC provided assistance in developing a business plan, financials, legal structure, obtaining proper licensing and general operations of the business.
Jim and Brian held a “soft opening” for Echo Karaoke in June 2011 which had a great turnout. They never expected a such a huge crowd that evening, or the abrupt end to the night when the power went out! Over the past five months Echo Karaoke added 10 staff, secured around $300,000 in financing and has had over 700 singers pass through their doors.
Fish Face Photo Booths started November 2010 and makes/markets photo booths for clients wanting to rent them for events and for vending applications. Fish Face was started by Beth Johnson, who wanted to create higher quality and more reliable photo booths than what were currently on the market. Fish Face was recently featured in the international trade magazine “Fun World Magazine,” highlighting Fish Face’s social media capabilities.
Fish Face has sold photo booths to clients all over the United States and the world, including Spain, Poland, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Australia, and Morocco. The SBDC assisted Beth on her business plan and encouraged her to enter the Entrepreneurship Advancement Center’s business plan competition which they won and received a prize package valued at $25,000 in January, 2011. As production and sales ramped up in 2011, and with the addition of three employees, the SBDC has provided on-going counseling on business strategy and technical assistance on exporting regulations and procedures.
Kevin Boyer and John Metz are the founders of Northern Indiana Aquaproducts, a start-up venture located in Goshen. Kevin and John developed the idea of aquaculture, or fish farming in mid 2009 and began researching the concept. They first engaged the NC ISBDC on November 25, 2009 to seek assistance with market research and business plan development.
The pair purchased SmallBizNavigator and started on the business plan, supported by additional ISBDC research and financial projection assistance, including determination of start-up costs and initial working capital needs. With a finished plan, John and Kevin began to pursue funding, securing a grant from the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation but failing in attempts to obtain bank loans. That prompted a scaling back of the initial vision and pursuit of private investment, which came in the form of an individual who provided a building to house the business. With start-up imminent, Kevin and John completed QuickBooks training and received additional counseling to initiate their use of the software.
The business opened on January 8, 2011 with the arrival of more than 4,000 Tilapia and a staff of three. Continued ISBDC engagement will focus upon marketing and on scaling up to higher levels of production.
Josh Veid and Lou Grove first visited the Southeast ISBDC in October of 2010 for assistance in developing a business plan after reading about the ISBDC in the local paper. The primary focus of the business is offering durable medical equipment to be used in the home.
During the start-up phase, Josh and Lou received guidance in the areas of business planning, financial projections, assessing market potential and determining appropriate levels of start-up inventory and industry assessments. With their personal investment of $17,000 as well as $10,000 from silent investors, Respiratory Medical Solutions opened in Lawrenceburg in November of 2011. RMS, Inc. carries an inventory of medical supplies including sleep disorder therapy products, mobility products, diabetic shoes, aids to daily living and scrubs and medical accessories.
Throughout the last year, the SBDC has offered additional assistance in financial decision-making, resulting in a $10,000 line of credit, assisted RMS with updating their business plan to secure grant funding and has offered ongoing support for both branding and marketing opportunities as well as sales staff training.
Although it took nearly a year to complete, RMS has recently been accepted by two prominent insurance companies. The first several months of operations were challenging, but RMS has expanded their product offerings in the second quarter of 2011, resulting in a substantial revenue increase.
New Haven, IN
Lisa Compton, the owner and founder of Second Steps, LLC, first worked with the SBDC while developing a plan for another business, SensoryCritters.com that she and her husband Bob Compton opened in 2005. This business retails products to aid in development and therapy for children with sensory processing disorders. It became apparent to the company’s owners that there were unmet needs in the market to provide clinical therapy and support for affected families. As a result, Ms. Compton started Second Steps, LLC to meet these identified needs for Applied Behavior Analysis services and social skills classes.
The NE ISBDC worked with Lisa Compton and Second Steps to complete pre-opening sales projections and cash flow strategies as well as providing legal structure direction. Additionally, the SBDC worked with the client in creating graphic designs and logo prototypes, marketing strategies and press releases relating to the Grand Opening and new service offerings for the new business, and has continued to provide market strategy implementation coaching.
Opening this business in August 2010 has allowed for new therapy services to be offered to the greater Fort Wayne market, consolidated existing offerings into one location, and the addition of six full time and five contracted employees.
In the summer of 2011, Brad Maushart, Brandon Redmond, Chris Bergin & Joe Krupa approached the EC ISBDC for help with multiple aspects of running their business. The four are “storm chasers” and wanted to turn their fascination with weather into a tourism business.
After an initial assessment, the business advisor determined that the clients needed to produce a business plan, understand how their corporate structure needed to operate, and understand proper handling of the finances and marketing. Since their goal was to enable the principals to leave their current occupations and concentrate fully on their new business, the counselor set up a program to cover all of their concerns.
SWAT (Severe Weather Alert Team) chases storms for a deeper understanding of what is going on in the skies above. They chase storms in thirteen different states. SWAT not only chases severe and inclement weather, but provides real time updates to media outlets, the National Weather Service and to the general public. SWAT recently signed a partnership with WXIN Fox 59.
Crown Point, IN
When her daughter developed some hearing loss, Kathy Cortopassi decided that she wanted to expand her court reporting business to include services for the disabled. Kathy came to the Northwest ISBDC in early 2009 for this expansion assistance. Because she was looking for peer advice on running a business, the NW ISBDC introduced her to the local BPW-Business & Professional Women. Kathy received strategic planning assistance which resulted in her opening her first office at the Entech Innovation Center in Valparaiso. She has recently moved to a new office at the Purdue Technology Center in Crown Point.
Kathy plans to grow her business significantly in 2012 by adding four new products. As a result, she will need additional capital and the NW ISBDC is now working with Kathy to help her revise and update a business plan in order to secure the financing she will need. Kathy has rewritten the marketing strategy part of her plan using market research provided by the ISBDC. She hopes to reach a new market with the provided information on hearing loss among veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. She estimates an increase of sales of over 100% and adding at least one employee a quarter.