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Big Sky Aerial Technology

In business, the sky is the limit for Big Sky Aerial Technology—literally. This start-up company captures high-resolution aerial images for use in precision agriculture, allowing farmers to analyze the health of their crops.

Founded in 2015 by Ron Lester and Jerred Lane, the idea to launch Big Sky Aerial Technology was inspired by the years Lester and Lane spent working with land and air-based remote sensing technologies in the Middle East.

“With some of the most amazing technologies being implemented for war, we wanted to take some of what we learned and work with it here at home,” Lester said.

But as the two started working on the business, they quickly realized that while they had plenty of experience on the technical side, they would need some help on the business side. That’s when they turned to Chamber affiliate the Denver Metro Small Business Development Center, where they enrolled in its LEADING EDGE business planning course.

“We can honestly say that in starting a business, we were lost in all the business formalities,” Lester said. While Lane and Lester have over 35 years of combined experience in aviation and engineering, when it came to actually starting the business and writing a business plan Lane says, “We had a long ways to go.”

“You have to have a solid product that you understand and is in demand within your market range,” Lane said. Lester and Lane are confident there is a demand for their product – which will both save the farmer money and reduce the amount of unnecessary chemicals into soils. Currently only five percent of farmers use this type of technology and interest in precision farming is continuing to build among the agriculture community. “Our customer base is out there,” Lane said. “[They’re] just waiting to have a system like ours that delivers a world-class product.”

Lane and Lester are in the process of laying out a well-defined business approach so they can “build a long-term sustainable business with a successful future,” Lester said. “While we are still encountering challenges along the way, with the help of the Denver SBDC we are able to overcome unexpected obstacles and continue on towards our goal of Big Sky Aerial Technology being a leader in the remote sensing industry.”

While taking the 11-week LEADING EDGE business planning course course, they purchased their first aircraft, fine-tuned their brand and market position and continued working on sensor design and software processing. They plan to start doing business this summer.

“The next few years are going to be very promising for us,” Lane said. “Precision farming is the way of the future and we intend to help it get there.”

Back2Basics

Brittany Winkfield is like a lot of entrepreneurs. She saw a gap in the marketplace and instead of waiting for someone else to fill it, she went after it herself. Led by a belief and desire that a Christian lifestyle magazine existed within the community, she used her creative skills, business network, and the SBDC to create Back2Basics Magazine. And she did it with the grace and style of a dedicated entrepreneur that understands how

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Full Battle Rattle Deli

“In the military, Full Battle Rattle means that you get your gear and are ready to move out. At Full Battle Rattle Deli, we are also ready to move out, but into our communities to serve and support our veteran brothers and sisters.” Michael Gropper, owner of Full Battle Rattle Deli says. The idea for Full Battle Rattle came about after an experience Gropper had with a veteran who was homeless at the VA hospital.

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Transform Energy

Transform Energy utilizes a market-based approach to end poverty and climate change, creating micro franchises to generate green coal, a clean coal replacement. Worldwide there are 1 billion people living on less than $3 a day in rural villages with very limited job prospects to improve their livelihood. They buy coal to use for cooking and heating which adds to environmental hazards. Transform Energy (TE) partners with local entrepreneurs to build simple kilns which they

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Bridget’s Botanicals

The awareness of the connection between health and natural ingredients sustainable for the environment is increasingly popular. Between spin classes, yoga, fitness trackers, and Whole 30, overall health is top of mind. Through her study of human health, molecular biology, chemistry and ecological studies, Bridget Molloy became inspired to start Bridget’s Botanicals, a business designed to promote and educate others of the synergy between environmentally sustainable products and natural health products. Bridget’s Botanicals offers a

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Lori J Photography

Entrepreneurs are known for having to perform many different roles. Many struggle with the financial and accounting aspect of their business, while others have a hard time understanding the power of social media. For Lori Johnson, owner of Lori J Photography, she’s the first to admit that her nemesis is marketing. Lori J Photography provides a boutique photography service experience for Denver wedding photography, family portraits, and lifestyle headshots for entrepreneurs in Denver. The business

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Factotum Brewhouse

The concept of Factotum Brewhouse was first imagined when siblings Christopher and Laura Bruns met their other brother and sister for dinner. As it usually goes when the four congregate, several beers were consumed and before long the idea of a homebrewer-driven craft brewery began to materialize. No strangers to the craft beer scene, Christopher and Laura began racking their minds, trying to think of any brewery—local or otherwise—that truly focused on homebrewers. Was there

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