Ann Arbor's J Keller Properties, McCreadie Group, and Torrent Consulting were among the "50 Michigan Companies to Watch" honored during the 13th annual Michigan Celebrates Small Business (MCSB) awards gala May 4 in Lansing.
Jennifer Deamud, executive director of MCSB and associate state director of the Michigan Small Business Development Center, says the awards ceremony is intended to be the Academy Awards for small business in Michigan.
MCSB launches a call for nominations in fall each year, and companies can nominate themselves or have their name put forth by a community member. Nominated companies are notified and encouraged to complete an awards application.
Winners must have between six and 99 employees and between $750,000 and $50 million in sales the year they apply. Applicants must show a history of sales and employee growth over the previous five years, and explain how they plan to grow their companies in the next few years.
"We're looking for a justification for why they are on a growth path," Deamud says. "Are they diversifying their product and service line? Are they expanding to new markets? Are they leveraging technology to streamline their processes? We also look at how the company engages with community and their employees, and at their workplace culture."
Representatives of Michigan entrepreneurial service organizations choose the winners in a two-round judging process. Deamud says MCSB tries to compile a diverse set of winners every year, and that shows in the recipients from Ann Arbor.
J Keller Properties is a property management group, McCreadie Group develops software for pharmacy schools and healthcare providers, and Torrent Consulting helps businesses figure out how to best use cloud computing and mobile technologies to serve customers.
Deamud says many people expect tech companies to dominate these types of awards, but that isn't the reality.
"As you see in Ann Arbor and in all 50 honorees, there is a nice diversity of industries represented," she says. "It goes to show that we're not looking for manufacturing or other specific industries, but just companies that are on a growth path. With just over 400 nominations this year, that shows that companies here in Michigan are on a growth path."
Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Torrent Consulting and McCreadie Group photos courtesy of Michigan Celebrates Small Business. J Keller photo courtesy of J Keller Properties.