From the Editor: Seeing a chance and taking it, then navigating the challenges

The Jacksonville Daily Record presents its fourth annual Top Entrepreneurs edition.

Jacksonville Daily Record Editor Karen Brune Mathis.
Jacksonville Daily Record Editor Karen Brune Mathis.
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Successful businesses are those whose founders and leaders exhibit an unrelenting passion and drive for what they do.

Those leaders hone their skills – acquired or, some believe, genetic – into a revenue-producing business.

Some don’t realize they are entrepreneurs until they take stock of the experience they built through other jobs and positions and realize, I have an opportunity here.

I can do this.

They all are highly sensitive to the fact they are responsible not only for supporting themselves and their families, but also those of their employees.

All see a chance – and take it.

Those are the experiences shared by our featured Top Entrepreneurs today.

The Jacksonville Daily Record presents its fourth annual Top Entrepreneurs edition recognizing nine Northeast Florida companies and the 2023 Legend – Ron Chamblin, the owner and founder of Chamblin Bookmine.

We also feature a Q&A with Jim Stallings, an investor who created PS27 Ventures to invest in emerging businesses. What he learned after decades in corporate America and the U.S. Marine Corps: Start with your purpose and mission and build from there.

Today’s profiled leaders range in age from 31 to 80.

Their industries include contracting, professional training, medical logistics, a cooking school, aerospace component manufacturing, heating and air, architecture, audiovisual development and dog training.

They all faced the COVID-19 pandemic and adjusted to it. 

Their collective experience includes facing illness; diversifying business out of necessity; developing new lines of revenue; insisting on strong customer service and respect; relying on their faith; and knowing their niches.

They are highly aware of their competition and strive to make sure their services and quality rank at the top.

They all continue to sharpen their products and services.

Several specifically explained that taking time to form their businesses was pivotal to their success.

They also are aware of the importance of community service and the need for workforce respect and development.

As we did the past three years, we sought nominations. This year we received a record 60 entries.

We feature three companies each in the three revenue categories of up to $2 million; $2 million to $10 million; and more than $10 million.

The focus is on entrepreneurs who founded locally based companies or who are a second- or third-generation CEO and the lead owner of a family business.

The difficult job was determining the nine finalists among the dozens of applications of worthy contenders. 

I will be in touch with all of the nominees about their businesses and how we might be able to include their stories in our ongoing reporting.

Contenders not chosen this year are invited to nominate themselves for the 2024 Top Entrepreneurs. 

We will respectfully request a few changes next year.

As we attempted this year, we will accept completed nomination forms only from the entrepreneurs themselves.

As in years past, some entrepreneurs this year were surprised by their nomination and declined to participate for privacy reasons. It was an awkward use of their time.

Also, entrepreneurs will need to provide basic revenue and workforce numbers for the prior three years in the initial nomination form.

We require those numbers because they verify the veracity of the entrepreneur’s success.

We understand when an entrepreneur does not wish to publish revenue, so it’s easier to not be nominated.

If you know entrepreneurs who should be considered, urge them to apply when nominations open in early 2024.

As we’ve said before, Northeast Florida is filled with thousands of entrepreneurs who share what we read today.

Congratulations to all founders and CEOs.

You did it.

Click here to go to the Top Entrepreneurs section



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