And the 2015 Hampton Roads Small Business of the Year is...
From a pool of five city winners, BizWiz by KBH Business Management Systems was named the region’s 2015 Hampton Roads Small Business of the Year and received a prize package from the Chamber valued at $10,000. Jesse and Stella Waltz accepted the award on behalf of the Virginia Beach based company who, since 2009, has been helping more than 200 contractors throughout the United States and Canada.
“We are very thankful for the honor,” said Jesse Waltz . He added, “I think it’s a great reflection how helping others and building a team to help others can come full circle.”
BizWiz is a Web-based program that utilizes mobile apps to extend use from the company's office into the field, allowing for the management of business workflow processes that include marketing, leads, appointments, sales, installation, production and financials. Jesse Waltz started JES Foundation Repair in 1993, and as his company grew found the need for a software program that would help forecast, project and track his business. As a result, BizWiz was established. The product was built by a contractor for contractors and currently has 30 in-house employees and 15 programmers abroad.
The headquarters is an open-plan space with write-on glass walls and mounted screens to display real-time BizWiz user stats. Employees at BizWiz can also take advantage of the 250-seat training center, fully equipped gym, cafeteria and nature trail.
Young Entrepreneur Award (YEA!)
Chris Johnson of Legacy Limousine and Luxury Coaches, LLC received the Young Entrepreneur Award (YEA!) for his outstanding initiative as a young entrepreneur in the Hampton Roads region. The award recognizes young entrepreneurs who have taken the risk of starting and running their own business in Hampton Roads.
Johnson was chosen from the following impressive finalists:
Hope Paryzek, Founder/CEO of Principle Strategies, LLC in Norfolk, received the G&W Leadership Award for her leadership, impact on workplace culture, community service and involvement, professional achievement, and perseverance.
Winners were selected by a judging committee which included Caron Crouse, Market Managing Partner of the Hampton Roads offices, Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP; Joseph Donnelly, President of Donnelly Real Properties, LLP; Dr. A. Gregory Stone, MBA Program Director at Regent University; Nicole Harrell, Partner in the Norfolk Office of Kaufman & Canoles; Dr. Stephen Lanivich, Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship and Management at Old Dominion University; and Susan Long-Molnar, President of Managing Communications Consulting. The winning businesses were chosen based on financial performance and business history, staff training and motivation, community involvement, business plan, growth, and customer service and satisfaction.
The Chamber recognizes the importance that small businesses play in the region and have taken proactive steps to improve their likelihood for success. One such program is PROPEL, a small business mentor-protégé program which is in its inaugural year. It provides a combination of education, technical assistance, and mentorship from a successful entrepreneur/small business owner which will help the participants as they move their businesses forward. Developed by Doug Minter at the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce, it has developed into an essential economic development tool for that region.
The first PROPEL cohort here in Hampton Roads completed their boot camp on June 12th and were also honored at the luncheon. These entrepreneurs will be partnered with their mentors for a two-year program.
“Congratulations to those eleven small business owners who formed the inaugural cohort for the PROPEL Mentor-Protégé program,” stated Jim Carroll, the Executive Director of the Small Business Development Center of Hampton Roads and the Chamber’s Vice President for Small Business.
“They have successfully completed their seven-week boot camp and will soon be united with their mentors to start the second phase of this program. Their dedication and desire to advance their respective small businesses is both noteworthy and commendable and I wish them every success as they continue through the program.”