After Susan Campbell helped her father move out of the home he lived in for 48 years, she saw a need for businesses that would make it easier for seniors to move.
That was in 1998. Today her company, More Than Moving For Seniors Inc., has more than 30 employees.Employees at her company conduct 10 to 15 moves a week with three moving trucks.
Campbell also created Susan's Selections store to sell on consignment the furniture a family does not want after the move, keeping half the sales.
Her success was recognized Thursday by The Richmond Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners, which named her entrepreneur of the year during its Enterprising Women of Excellence dinner.
NAWBO also honored three other women during the awards gala:
Rising star: Rebecca Hough, co-founder and CEO of Evatran, a company that is developing wireless vehicle charging technology.
Community Leader: Talley Baratka, co-founder of Impact 100 Richmond, a group of 100 women who pledge $1,000 each year to a fund that makes a donation to a non-profit chosen by the group.
Student Entrepreneur: Kathleen Barron, Lumiform Tech, LLC. Barron is a senior in chemical and life science engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University, and she is also receiving a certificate of Product Innovation from VCU’s daVinci Center. Lumiform Tech creates art using light technology.
Tonya Mallory, CEO and founder of Health Diagnostic Laboratory Inc., delivered the keynote address. She urged other female business owners to "be a game changer" in their industry.
"The success of HDL hinged on not accepting the status quo," she said.
Mallory noted that the company, which is less than six years old, has 850 employees and collected $600 million in revenue during 2013. The key to that growth, she said, is challenging and pushing every single employee to do great work.
"Excellence is not negotiable, but we recognize that it comes in all forms," she said.
One route to excellence is persistence and refusing to give up. Mallory estimated that she pitched HDL and its business plan to nearly 500 investors. Only one said yes.
Five year's later, results have been different, she said.
"We've recently been pitched to 30 venture capitalists for a very small part of the company," she said. "And all of them have said yes."