Mercedes Austin leads a tile-making business.
Kristinah Dvorak runs a walk-in child-care business.
Lisa Lounsbury has started an art therapy business.
All three will be honored Friday at WomenVenture's 24th annual "Women Mean Business Luncheon & Marketplace" at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
WomenVenture is a U.S. Small Business Administration business center that focuses on women.
Austin, a tile artist, quit a waitressing job several years ago to go all in on Mercury Mosaics. It now is now a 33-employee design-and-manufacturing company that topped $2.2 million in revenue last year, driven by sales to kitchen and bath designers and other commercial customers.
Austin, 42, took WomenVenture’s ScaleUp! Business development class in 2015. (Here's an August column about Austin: http://strib.mn/3372i5s)
Dvorak, the “emerging business award winner,” is owner of Hour Kids Walk-In Childcare in Eagan.
This award is presented to a WomenVenture client with an innovative product or service whose fledgling business demonstrates consistent positive growth and community impact.
Between being a mom and a full-time student, Dvorak knew there was a need for flexible, reliable child care in the Twin Cities. Her solution was a center that took children in on a walk-in basis with availability by the hour.
Lounsbury will be honored as a social entrepreneur.
She combined her passion for art and her skill as a therapist to start Art Lab Rx, an art therapy business. She helps clients overcome barriers by taking her 45-foot retrofitted mobile art studio to those who lack transportation.
The keynote speaker is Keia Isaacson, WomenVenture client and owner of Lakeside Floor Coverings. She left the corporate world years ago to launch her own business.
For more information on the event, go to https://www.womenventure.org.