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Success Stories

2012 National Minority Small Business Person of the Year

Kaleo Nawahine grew up in a very secure home on the Island of Oahu, the son of an educator and a nurse.  He spent his youth surrounded by his extended family enjoying all the regular activities available to Hawaiian children.   Education was emphasized in his home so there was never any doubt in his mind that upon graduation from high school he would go to college and eventually find a secure job of his own.

Just as he had scripted, the calculating Nawahine earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and his master’s in engineering management from Brigham Young University in Utah.  Fresh out of college, Kaleo landed his first job as a project manager with a manufacturing company in rural Fruitland, Idaho.  After two years, he accepted a position as a project manager with a cement and building materials manufacturer and over the next five years, Kaleo had the opportunity to get acquainted with many of his entrepreneurial clients.

“As I interacted with our... Read More

2012 National Small Business Exporter of the Year

Al Youngwerth’s parents had no idea the impact that a trip with their young son to the theater for a viewing of “On Any Sunday” would someday reshape the off-road motorcycle industry worldwide.  The impressionable lad was already smitten with dirt bike riding, but to see it glamorized on the big screen left a significant imprint on his mind.

Al’s passion for motorcycling never wavered as he matured.  He settled into a career as a computer engineer for a local company and spent his weekends exploring the spectacular environment surrounding his Boise home.  In 2002, Al was riding his dirt bike when his clutch failed causing him to have a less enjoyable experience.  Upon his return home, Youngwerth made the commitment to himself that he was going to design a better motorcycle clutch. 

While maintaining his day job, Youngwerth began designing a new automatic clutch in his spare time.  As he progressed, Youngwerth enlisted the help of Boise State University’s TechHelp and... Read More

2012 Idaho Small Business Person of the Year

Children’s Therapy Place (CTP) was started in 2001 by Sondra McMindes after relocating to Boise from her native state of Florida.  Sondra had built a successful children’s speech therapy business in Florida, but family issues required her to move to Idaho.  Shortly after arriving in Boise, Sondra started collecting information on the speech therapy market in Idaho.  What she identified was an alarming trend in Idaho’s underserved communities – schools were often unable to obtain skilled service providers for students requiring speech, physical and occupational therapy.  Believing location shouldn’t prevent children from educational success, Sondra McMindes started Children’s Therapy Place out of her home and began traveling to school districts up to 50 miles away to help kids.

As her niche business grew, McMindes assembled a team of highly skilled therapists who shared her vision and love for children.  Her small army of physical, occupational and speech therapists provided... Read More

2011 Idaho Minority Small Business Person of the Year

Some entrepreneurs dream big.  Some entrepreneurs work tirelessly.  Entrepreneur Corrine McKague, owner of Alarmco Inc., doesn’t know the word no.  McKague came by it honestly as her she watched her father run a successful security business for many years. 

In 1995, Corrine McKague and her husband Charles started Alarmco, Inc. to service small commercial and residential clients with security, fire and closed–circuit television systems.  “We had the expertise,” recalls McKague, “But what really motivated us was our passion for the security industry and a vision for a sound business model.”

Traditionally, the security industry is dominated by large firms providing expensive, often impersonal, service.  In building Alarmco, the McKague’s made their personal commitment to exceed client’s expectations, thus gaining repeat business and word of mouth referrals.  This approach worked very well as local commercial accounts turned into national accounts with giants like Boise... Read More

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