Norhart, a company that builds and manages residential properties in Forest Lake and Blaine, has been named a winner of the 2018 American Small Business Championship by SCORE, the nation’s largest network of volunteer expert business mentors.
SCORE awarded this title to 102 entrepreneurs for their dedication to the success of their small businesses, awarding them an all-expense-paid trip to a training and networking event in Reno, Nevada, during the last week of April; SCORE mentoring and publicity throughout the year; and a chance to win one of three $15,000 grand prizes.
Norhart earned the title of American Small Business Champion by submitting an online application via video describing what makes their business one of the best small businesses in their community, and how they plan to use the prizes to grow their business. Nominations that garnered at least 100 votes were then presented to a judging panel of small business experts that determined 102 winners, including Norhart.
“The mentoring will be a great thing to help grow our business, but I am also looking forward to using this publicity to become more legitimate in people’s eyes,” Norhart president Mike Kaeding said. “A year ago, we really did not put any time or energy into marketing, and now we are really working hard to get our name out there and to let people know what we are all about, and I think people are seeing that a little bit more.”
Norhart is a 25-year-old family business. In 2014, Norhart president Edward Kaeding suffered a stroke that led to his death. During this traumatic time, Edward’s son Mike became president. He has since grown the company by more than 50 percent.
“Today, Norhart is building a company that honors my father’s memory,” Kaeding said. “That is being done through new and renovated apartments. Norhart is pushing toward industry-leading customer service and maintenance. We are developing smart apartment technology that controls lights, doors, thermostats, and more. On another side, we have raised thousands of dollars to support the homeless.”
Norhart also promotes local businesses and recently gave all residents gift cards to local restaurants.
According to Kaeding, the dream at Norhart is to create a world-class company that is focused on creating a better way for people to live.
“We are so grateful to receive this award,” he said. “I have been blown away by the support of the community. We all stand on the shoulders of giants. I’m so thankful for all the incredible giants in my life. We wouldn’t be the business we are today without you.”
Kaeding is hoping to see Norhart named as a grand champion in the SCORE competition. That designation would earn the company $15,000 above and beyond the prizes they have already received. A judging panel of small business experts will select three grand champions from the group of small business champions this summer.
To learn more about the American Small Business Championship and to view the complete list of champions, visit www.championship.score.org.