KANSAS CITY, Mo. – When Chris Henry wanted to grow his lawn care business, RC Landscape Services, to pursue government jobs in the Kansas City area, he turned to the Missouri APEX Accelerator, a program of University of Missouri Extension.
Celebrating May as Small Business Month, the latest episode of “Show-Me MO Success,” MU Extension’s Business and Communities podcast, tells how Henry expanded his business by preparing and winning bids for government contracts with the help of the Missouri APEX Accelerator.
Henry started his business in 2018 with $20,000 and a vision to enter the lawn care industry. He and a part-time employee contracted with a neighborhood association to care for 50 vacant lots. Nikki Gardner joined the company in 2019 to develop a strategic plan to accelerate the growth of the business.
“We were doing pretty well on the residential side, but I knew I wanted us to tap into the commercial side of things,” says Gardner, RC Landscape Services’ chief marketing officer and business development lead. “The commercial side has been much more profitable. That’s where I hit a roadblock – trying to make the transition from mostly residential and a little bit of commercial to largely commercial.” Obstacles involved obtaining certifications and submitting applications for larger jobs with Kansas City government departments.
In this podcast episode, guest host Mike Quinata, assistant director for MU Extension Business and Communities, interviews Gardner and Jeff Rosenblatt, business counselor for the Missouri APEX Accelerator, formerly known as the Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Centers. Gardner describes what led her to contact Rosenblatt for help, and she and Rosenblatt discuss the specific support available to small-business owners.
Business owners can find it challenging to navigate through certifications and bid applications, Rosenblatt says. “We are kind of a one-stop shop for the government marketplace. We are a resource for small businesses to succeed and grow. APEX services are available to any small-business owner in the state of Missouri.”
The Missouri APEX Accelerator assists businesses – including small, disadvantaged and veteran- and women-owned firms – obtain federal, state and local government contracts. It is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Defense.
MU Extension has programs to benefit Missourians throughout the state. “Show-Me MO Success” features faculty members and their clients discussing the impact of these programs on communities and businesses in Missouri. Podcast listeners will hear how to reach out to MU Extension to access resources.
“Show-Me MO Success” is available on iTunes, Google Podcasts, Spotify and Amazon Music. Scan the QR code below or go to linktr.ee/BusinessAndCommunity to listen to ways you can improve your business and community with the help of MU Extension.
Sarah Rielley, Senior Coordinator
University of Missouri Extension–Business and Community