The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Business

April 24, 2014

Fast-growing local company CLEANS UP

Still under 30, Josh Vanderberg named Entrepreneur of the Year

It can be the little things that trip up a fledgling business — the oversights that happen when focusing on cash flow, hiring employees, buying equipment and wooing new customers.

For Josh Vanderberg the mistake made in his thriving business start-up is fresh in his mind.

“The biggest screw up I made is we didn’t have our computers properly backed up and lost three months of data and had to rebuild all that. I lost all my bids, all my Quick Books. It was a nightmare.”

But it was only a bump in the road for the owner of Vanderberg Clean, a business that started in his home and grew from a dozen employees in 2010 to 37 today. His janitorial accounts have skyrocketed and he’s added more services.

And still under age 30, he’s just warming up. His plan is to extend the business into a $10 million enterprise covering southern Minnesota.

Vanderberg’s success has earned him the Minnesota Young Entrepreneur of the Year award given by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

“He’s so impressive to buckle down and run his business. He’s grown personally and professionally. And to grow his business that way before he’s 30 is really something,” said Mike Nolan, director of the Small Business Development Center on the Minnesota State University campus.

“We see 300, 400 people a year. He’s literally the one in a thousand who comes in with a dream, gets into trouble, retool themselves and grow,” said Nolan, who nominated Vanderberg for the award.

Julie Nelson, program manager at the SBDC, said Vanderberg did something many people coming for advice don’t.

“He’s one of the clients who came in and went back and did what he was supposed to do.”

During middle school and high school, Vanderberg worked at his grandparents’ business, Sharon’s Cleaning Service, with his earnings going toward his family’s expenses.

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