The Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program Announces Its 2018 Class



A Kansas City-based entrepreneurial mentoring program has announced its 2018 class. The Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program was founded in 1995 by Barnett Helzberg Jr. and was originally inspired by Helzberg’s own 23-year mentoring relationship with Ewing Kauffman; the 2018 class includes 16 mentees.

HEMP is a three-year program that matches well-seasoned entrepreneurs with less-experienced entrepreneurial mentees. The goal? The mentor/mentee will build a close relationship, and in the process, the mentees will learn how to grow their business and become better leaders. 

According to Bill Hartnett, president of the HEMP Board of Directors, the program works to develop strong relationships between the mentors and mentees rather than focusing on refining specific skills. “Personal interaction remains the foundation of the program and has become a powerful source of inspiration and success,” Hartnett said in a statement.

The 2018 mentees include:

  • Gene Abramov, Depth Security
  • Craig Armstrong, Loquient Inc.
  • Chase DeRousse, Major Painting
  • Carol Espinosa, Freedom Interiors
  • Julie Farrell, DB Flooring LLC dba Regents Flooring
  • Rusty Fulling, Fulling Management & Accounting, Inc.
  • Shelby Herrick, Shelby Herrick Salon
  • Dan Holmgren, Imagemakers, Inc.
  • Richard Hu, HJM Architects
  • Michelle Macrorie, Autism From The Start
  • Nancy McCullough, e2E, LLC
  • Rick O’Neill, RedesignKC
  • Kari Simpson, Digital Marketing Inc.
  • Babir Sultan, FavTrip
  • Justin Watkins, Native Digital
  • Tom Wilkins, Evolytics.

Christina Dreiling, managing director of HEMP, said the program encourages economic development beyond even just Kansas City. “We are helping businesses and business owners grow, so we’re helping them to increase their revenue and increase their employee count,” Dreiling said. “While we’re helping the area, we’re not just focused on Kansas City. Some of the companies are even nationwide. We’re helping them to create more jobs, give back to the community and have better business leaders.”

To be eligible for HEMP, both mentees and mentors must fulfill certain qualifications and complete an application/interview process. Specific mentee requirements are listed here: 

  • Be the sole decision maker of your company
  • Have been in business for three or more years
  • Generate revenues between $1 million and $100 million
  • Have at least five full-time employees