Small Business Profiles
Fresh Kutz opened its doors in North Hollywood in 2008 with the goal of offering all customers premium services by top-level barbers in a modern barbershop. Since its inception, owner Brian Portillo knew he would face several challenges as the community has a crime rate above the national average. Not only did he want to open his business in the community in which he grew up, but he wanted to create positive social impact while running his business.
Steve Katsaros has always been an innovator. He began inventing products for the ski industry in his late teens, and went on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering (BSME) from Purdue University so he could follow his dream of creating new technologies to improve the world. In the early 2000s, Katsaros came up with his first big invention: the RevoPower, an efficient motorized wheel designed to travel up to 20 miles per hour at over 100 miles per gallon.
For many small businesses, addressing HR, legal and compliance needs can be a challenge. Many lack the resources to hire a full-time HR professional who can draft employee policies and handbooks, design HR strategies that help move the company forward or secure legal services for HR-related necessities – like employment contracts or separation agreements.
While working towards an engineering degree in college, Matthew Hollis quickly realized his real interest wasn’t in memorizing equations or the laws of thermodynamics, but rather in entrepreneurship and how to turn problem solving into a business. He connected with Alan Dillman, who ran a business incubator on Hollis’ college campus. The two quickly realized there was room for innovation and sustainability in the waste collection business, which inspired them to launch Elytus, a waste management company based in Columbus, Ohio.
For Adam Rochon, supplying benefits and insurance is a family business. Rochon followed his mother, Belinda Roberts, into the insurance and benefits industry and today they have a collective 28 years of insurance experience. After the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, businesses began to require a more in-depth broker relationship and a knowledgeable source of information for coverage.
Missy Williams spent the first 20 years of her career in the mental health field as a direct care provider, program manager, counselor and executive manager. As a mental health provider, she learned how stressful it could be to take care of patients and run a successful business – and she wanted to share her experiences with others in her field to help them tackle these problems. A few years after obtaining her M.A.
For many micropreneurs or self-employed freelancers, working at home can be isolating. While home offices have plenty of perks, they don’t provide opportunities to interact with others and they can be full of distractions.
Sue Reardon set out to solve this problem with the creation of Suite Spotte, a coworking space in La Grange, IL dedicated to helping entrepreneurs thrive. Suite Spotte is a welcoming and energetic space that’s not just great for getting work done – it also provides a community of collaborative and ambitious entrepreneurs.
For small business owners, navigating the insurance market can be a challenge, especially with all the new options and changes from the Affordable Care Act. Thankfully, many professional insurance brokers are dedicated to helping small businesses understand the market. Larry Lewis, who works as an Agency Development Manager with Colonial Life in New Jersey, is one such professional.
For a road-based state like New Jersey, potholes can be a driver’s worst nightmare. That’s where Tathiana Carrasco comes in. Fed up with seeing the same locations riddled with unrepaired and reemerging potholes, Carrasco set out to fill those pesky holes once and for all.
“While working for BMW, I was surprised by the number of claims being made for damaged wheels and tires. I looked into the causes a bit further and came to realize how big of a problem potholes are,” Carrasco said.