The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce has named Lead Bank as its 2018 Small Business of the Year and winner of the Mr. K award, named for the late Ewing Marion Kauffman, founder of Marion Laboratories and former owner of the Kansas City Royals.
The Mr. K Award is based on business growth or sustainability, exemplary employee relations and a commitment to community service.
The winner was announced at the chamber's annual small business luncheon Thursday at the Kansas City Downtown Marriott.
Lead Bank was founded more than 90 years ago and has branches in the Crossroads, as well as Garden City and Lee's Summit.
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The Crossroads location has office space and mentoring for Launch KC entrepreneurs and a pop-up retail space highlighting a local business. Lead Bank also developed an "Impact Calculator" to help businesses determine their effect on the community.
The bank partnered with the City of Kansas City in the “For Change” initiative, solving an unmet need for city contractors by providing special financing options, working with MBE (Minority Business Enterprise), WBE (Women's Business Enterprise), and DBE (Disadvantaged Business Enterprise) firms to help them grow.
The chamber said 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.
Lead Bank was selected for the top award from the chamber's 2018 Top 10 Small Businesses. They are:
▪ Blue Nile
▪ Charlie Hustle
▪ International Express Trucking
▪ Orbis Biosciences
▪ Pro Athlete
▪ Royal Services
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.
▪ International Small Business of the Year Award — Orbis Biosciences: Orbis has international clients in the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, India, Europe, Israel, Jordan and Korea.
▪ Legacy of Kansas City Award — The Robert E. Miller Group: The 57-year-old, family-owned company opened its first office on the ground floor of two-story home. As of last year, it is one of the top 12 largest independent insurance brokerage firms in Kansas City.
▪ Entrepreneur Award – Chicken 'N' Pickle: A North Kansas City chicken restaurant, concert venue, pickleball and corporate retreat venue, which is expanding with additional locations including one in Wichita.