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Back to Basics tops Delaware companies on Inc. 5000

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Juli Bennett, executive director of Back to Basics Learning Dynamics, credited the growth of her company to responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. | DBT PHOTO BY LUIGI CIUFFETELLI

WILMINGTON – Juli Bennett, executive director of Back to Basics Learning Dynamics (B2B), knew that her fast-growing tutoring and education services company had a shot of making it into the annual Inc. 5000 list, possibly in the area of 1,800th based on prior years’ metrics.

In the end, the Wilmington-area company bested that by quite a bit, ranking 746th this year and being the top Delaware-based company.

“We were ecstatic,” said Bennett, who was also named a 2022 Delaware Business Times CEO of the Year in July.

The annual list by business magazine Inc. tracks the fastest growing private companies in the U.S. through an application process. With few details about such companies publicly disclosed, the list is a sought-after look at growing startups around the country.

The 845% percent in revenue growth from 2018 to 2021 for B2B was due in large part to the COVID-19 pandemic, which saw billions of dollars in government assistance supplied to school districts across the county. About a fifth of those funds to local districts were required to involve one-on-one tutoring for students at-risk of falling behind.

For B2B, it was exactly the kind of services that it was founded for more than decades ago.

“That’s our niche because we, unlike a lot of education companies, don’t hire offshore and we don’t hire college kids. We strictly hire remote teachers, including retired teachers and those who have left the school system for various reasons,” Bennett said. “That is what these kids need, because they not only lack skills, but they lack confidence and self-esteem, and you only get that back for a lot of these kids with a tutor as a constant in their life.”

B2B was able to achieve its remarkable revenue growth without dramatically raising its service rates, virtually holding them flat through the pandemic to assist system’s in need, she added.

“Maybe that’s not a good CEO, but in my mind, if we’re growing and we’re treating everybody well, we’re the long-term partner,” she said. “The rest will not be able to sustain … and we’ll be here long after they leave and the COVID money is gone.”

With COVID precautions easing more than two years into the pandemic, Bennett said that B2B is pivoting to continue in growth mode.

B2B is expanding its geographic presence, working with three school districts each in North Carolina and Texas in addition to several in Delaware. In addition to tutoring, B2B runs its own online one-on-one school and offers response to intervention programs and English language-learner services.

“Every school district we go into we become a valued partner because we’re not a one-trick pony,” she said.

This school year, it’s also working with Colonial School District in New Castle County to provide remote teachers for traditional classes amid a shortage of district teachers. A paraprofessional will manage classrooms in person, but all instruction in the classes will come from video SmartBoards.

It’s an idea that’s been used in more remote school districts across the country but is now expanding amid a decline in teachers, which Bennett believes could be an opportunity for B2B.

“There continues to be a shortage of teaching and I don’t think that’s going to go away because we’re not pumping out enough teachers to accommodate how many are leaving at the same time,” she said.

In support of the teaching community, B2B is fulfilling Delaware teacher wishlists, donating funds to buy school supplies for classrooms. To apply, go to their Facebook page.

Meanwhile, elsewhere on the Inc. 5000 list is Placers Inc. of Delaware, a temporary staffing agency, which made its seventh consecutive appearance and 11th overall, the most of any of the Delaware-based honorees.

“We are honored and humbled to receive this entrepreneurial success award again,” Placers President Chris Burkhard said in a statement. “Eleven times and during our 50th year. It makes it that much sweeter. It puts us in rarefied company.”

As always, about a dozen other companies were listed by Inc. as Delaware companies, but they exist here only on paper, with actual headquarters listed in Seattle, Los Angeles, India, and England, among other locations. 

Delaware’s 2022 Inc. 5000 companies by ranking

  1. Back to Basics Learning Dynamics (746) – Education Services
  2. Incredible One Enterprises (1,209) – Consultancy
  3. AK Multinational (1,576) – IT Services
  4. Carvertise (2,614) – Advertising & Marketing
  5. Tapp Networks (3,820) – Advertising & Marketing
  6. Endevor (3,853) – Software
  7. Chesapeake Heating and Plumbing (4,336) – Construction
  8. DiSabatino Construction Services (4,410) – Construction
  9. Placers Inc of Delaware (4,470) – Business Products & Services
  10. Action Unlimited Resources (4,689) – Janitorial Products
  11.  Forever Fresh (4,766) – Agriculture Import
  12.  The Siegfried Group (4,983) – Accounting

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