entrepreneur awards

Dr. Logan Jones, dean of the College of Business and Professional Studies; Joe Freudenthal; Austin Evans; and Annette Weeks, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship

July 29, 2020–The Center for Entrepreneurship at Missouri Western State University honored two business owners during the Capstone Business Luncheon that ended Entrepreneurship Week on July 23.

Austin Evans received the Emerging Entrepreneur Award. Four years ago, Evans opened Fit Republic, a supplement retail store. Then, realizing a need in the community for fresh-cooked, healthy meals, he opened the Lean Kitchen Company in the same space. Additionally, he offers Lean Kitchen Company to franchisees, and there are now 16 Lean Kitchen locations in several communities. He also recently purchased Kris & Kate’s, the iconic bright pink ice cream cone on the Belt Highway in St. Joseph. Evans is an active community partner, sponsoring several fitness events and working closely with other entrepreneurs.

“Austin has no limits,” said one nominator. “He sacrifices a lot to be successful. The main focus for him is ‘how can we continue to grow so we can help more people?’”

Joe Freudenthal received the Entrepreneur of the Year Award, president and owner of Freudenthal Home-Based Healthcare in St. Joseph. Freudenthal opened Vintage Park in 2000, expanding that business before selling it to focus on in-home care. He recently added Freudenthal Hospice in an effort to provide a complete continuum of care at home. Freudenthal is a great community supporter, serving on several boards and providing sponsorships to worthwhile activities and organizations. He also offers the Freudenthal Fit Club, free exercise classes in the community and the not-for-profit Freudenthal Center for Parkinson’s Disease.

Freudenthal’s nominator said he is a great employer. “He has the gift of empowerment and he is constantly encouraging,” the nominator said. “He lets staff know what qualities and talents he sees in them.” 

Entrepreneurship Week is an annual series of workshops and events for local business professionals, aspiring entrepreneurs, college and high school students and those curious about the skills needed to run a small business. Normally scheduled in March, this year’s E-Week was postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak and held July 21-23. 

About the Center for Entrepreneurship: The Center for Entrepreneurship trains, mentors and supports business owners and entrepreneurs in the St. Joseph area and beyond. Whether your business is new, new to the area, or simply trying something new, we can help. To date, the Center for Entrepreneurship has provided free consulting services to more than 500 new and existing entrepreneurs.

About Missouri Western: Missouri Western State University is a student-centered learning community preparing individuals for lives of excellence through applied learning. Missouri Western is located in St. Joseph, Mo., and is committed to the educational, economic, cultural and social development of the region it serves. Visit www.missouriwestern.edu.