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SUCCESS STORIES

Coppertops Paperie

When considering starting her own business, Jessica Burke was given the advice, “do something you completely love, even in the tiny details.” The only thing she felt absolutely certain she loved – tiny details and all – was paper products. Jessica’s passion drove her to start CopperTops Paperie, a company that sells personalized paper products, in 2013.

CopperTops is most widely known for their patent-pending bottle wrap, which emerged from a conversation with a customer regarding a better way to wrap a bottle of wine. Customers can choose from a variety of distinctively designed patterns and papers suiting any occasion. CopperTops prints on responsibly sourced recycled paper using vegetable-based inks.

After launching CopperTops and entering her first retail store, Jessica enrolled in LEADING EDGE™ for Entrepreneurs at the Denver Metro Small Business Development Center (SBDC) to craft a business plan and long-term vision for her company.

Jessica was paired with entrepreneurial mentors, providing her with valuable advice and expertise to get her business on the path to success.

“I met with SBDC financial consultant several times. He was invaluable in helping me get started putting together business financials,”

Jessica said. “Through the consultants I was connected with the guys behind The Real Dill pickles. It was also a very helpful for me to connect with them.”

Jessica graduated from the LEADING EDGE™ course – business plan in hand – and was selected to compete in the SBDC’s first Trout Tank. Seeking a $100,000 loan, Jessica gave her best pitch to over 30 lenders and investors and was awarded first place at the event.

Several months later, Jessica was approved for a line of credit. CopperTops launched a new website, submitted patent applications, expanded their product line and created a more focused brand.
Jessica’s passion – coupled with the tools and contacts she gained from the SBDC –led to a 260% increase in sales and enabled CopperTops to continue to expand into over 30 stores in Colorado including Whole Foods in Boulder.

CopperTops products can either be found in (or are coming soon to) King Soopers, Specs, Central Market and Rouses. Jessica’s hope is to grow nationally. She shared, “We are being considered within several national chains and hopefully will have exciting news to share in the coming months.”

Denver Bouldering Club

The Denver Bouldering Club (DBC) started in 2009 when three local climbers – Thomas Betterton, Lee Payne, and Kevin Brown – decided that Denver’s passion for climbing and the outdoors deserved a better indoor training facility. What began as a dream to construct a small training center has now grown into one of the best climbing gyms in Colorado – a gathering place where climbers can learn, train and share their love of climbing. “It’s

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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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Discovery College Consulting, LLC

When Sara Zessar first began meeting with consultants and attending programs at the Denver SBDC in 2013, she had a company name and not much else. A former high school counselor, Zessar wanted to start a college consulting practice to assist high school students with the college search and admissions process, but she had no experience in the business world. “I knew what I wanted to do, but I needed a lot of help in

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Sky Blue Builders

When Mowa Haile set out to build a business with a couple of friends, they agreed on one fundamental principle: customer service. “The opportunity to be customer focused is what motivates us and differentiates us,” said Mowa, President of minority-owned Sky Blue Builders, LLC. “As consumers, we see the mistakes that big companies make – and we want to change that. Everything we do, we consider it from the perspective of the customer. If it

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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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ECS

Jessica Acosta’s business philosophy is focused on three things: people, planet and profit. The Environmental Consulting Services (ECS) founder and CEO works to bring new jobs to the region while creating sustainable environment and financial stability. ECS, established in 2011, provides services ranging from design and development of stormwater management plans to training. Acosta launched ECS to serve and address environmental management and water quality compliance needs of private, federal, state, and local clients. “I’ve

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