Five on the rise: the chamber salutes these up-and-coming businesses.

Position::SMALL BIZ BEAT
 
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In an effort to help promote small businesses in the Detroit area and provide valuable exposure for five companies doing exceptional work to help improve our local economy, the Detroit Regional Chamber introduced the Five on the Rise awards as part of the chamber's Small Business Club this past winter.

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The Small Business Club was created by the chamber in response to feedback we received from our members, who voiced a need for a forum to conned and support one another to remain stable and grow. The Small Business Club provides this opportunity, as well as valuable networking and professional development tools that small businesses need most to get an edge and stay relevant in a turbulent market.

The Five on the Rise awards program was developed to celebrate entrepreneurial spirit in our region and recognize five small businesses for their positive achievements and contributions to the community. The companies who have won a Five on the Rise award are shining examples of successful businesses and serve as inspiration during times when many of the news stories coming out of the area have a negative connotation.

Winners of the inaugural Five on the Rise awards are:

1 Revenue Growth: McGraw Wentworth, an employee group benefit brokerage/ consulting firm

2 Innovative Products and Services: Identity Marketing ft Public Relations, a full-service agency specializing in businsess-to-business communication strategies and programs

3 Staff Expansion & Development: Nemeth Burwell, P.C., a law firm counseling clients in management labor and employment law

4 Young Professional-Owned Business: Good Girls Go to Paris Crepes, a restaurant featuring 20 crepes made by hand, each with a story

5 Global Expansion: Global IT. a company specializing in language training, cultural training, translation solutions and expatriate relocation services

Revenue Growth

McGraw Wentworth

Hitting the Bottom Line

With a client base mainly consisting of Michigan-based businesses, McGraw Wentworth has continued to grow financially even in a down economy. Since 1997, this employee benefits group firm has consulted with mid-sized organizations and human resources staff in putting together an effective, efficient and well-communicated employee benefit program for their clients.

Founded by Thomas McGraw and William Wentworth, McGraw Wentworth serves a diverse client base - including privately- and publicly-held firms, municipalities, school districts, non-profits, manufacturers, services, retailers and wholesale firms. This has ensured the firm's stability and growth, resulting in a twelve-year average annual growth rate of 148 percent, growing from year-one revenue of $282,000 to $11,711,000 in 2008.

"There was not any one client engagement that pushed us over the top or gave us the rocket boost to success," McGraw says. "It was rather a constant chipping away and building our business, hiring the right people and having initial early success winning client engagements in 1997 and 1998 so we could tell early on that we were on the right path."

McGraw Wentworth has grown from three to 67 employees in more than a decade of business. In addition to offering a focused strategy that is customized to fit the client's needs, McGraw insists that the firm has "the...

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