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Lead Bank Named 2018 Small Business of the Year; Takes Home "Mr. K" Award

The KC Chamber’s annual Small Business Celebration came to its conclusion with the announcement of Lead* Bank as Small Business of the Year. CEO Josh Rowland was presented with the Mr.K Award, named after iconic KC entrepreneur Ewing Kauffman. The criteria for the award represent Mr. K’s business philosophy and practice:  growth in business; reward your employees; give back to your community. The luncheon was held at the Muehlebach Tower downtown.
As a community bank founded more than 90 years ago, Lead Bank today serves a diverse clientele – rural, suburban, and urban, with its three branches located in Garden City, Lee’s Summit, and in the heart of Kansas City’s Crossroads District, working to make the bank an integral part of each community.
Its Crossroads location, for example, offers office space and mentoring for Launch KC entrepreneurs, a pop-up retail space highlighting a local business, developed an Impact Calculator to help businesses determine their effect on their community, and is one of the few banks to provide credit to startups and venture capital firms.
The bank partnered with the City of Kansas City, MO, in the “For Change” initiative, solving an unmet need for city contractors by providing special financing options, working with MBE, WBE, and DBE firms to help them grow. That led to Lead Bank’s recent selection by KCI developer Edgemoor as the bank to provide low-interest loans to MBE and WBE companies. Those loans will fill the gap between when the companies finish and payment for those projects is made – a great help to small businesses with limited financial means.

*Lead is pronounced LEED.
Top 10 Small Businesses
In addition to Lead Bank, the Small Business Celebration Awards Luncheon honored the rest of the Chamber’s 2018 Top 10 Small Businesses. They include:
  • Blue Nile
  • Charlie Hustle
  • International Express Trucking
  • Orbis Biosciences
  • Pro Athlete
  • Royal Services
  • SwimZip
  • Veracity
  • Wellington
The Top 10 were chosen from a field of 2000 nominations and selected by a panel of independent judges.
Specialty Awards
Four additional awards were announced at the Small Business Celebration Luncheon. They are:
Diverse Small Business of the Year Award - Veracity Consulting
Veracity Consulting is a certified minority-, woman-, and LGBT-owned business. They take the time to support and educate their employees and to advocate in the community about the importance of having a diverse and inclusive culture.
International Small Business of the Year Award – Orbis Biosciences
Orbis boasts international clients in the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, India, Europe, Israel, Jordan, and Korea. Within the next ten years, Orbis plans to make their way into additional foreign markets in Africa and Asia.
Legacy of Kansas City Award – The Robert E. Miller Group
This 57-year-old, family-owned company opened their first office on the ground floor of an old two-story home. As of last year, they are one of the top12 largest independent insurance brokerage firms in Kansas City.
Entrepreneur Award – Chicken ‘N’ Pickle
The idea for this company was first conceived in the Grand Cayman Islands over cold beer and jerk chicken. They’ve set a new standard for the active entertainment restaurant experience – a restaurant, concert venue, competitive sport environment, and corporate retreat venue.