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We’ve helped thousands of entrepreneurs. Here are some of their

SUCCESS STORIES

dance2b

Jennifer Tisdale learned early in her years as a consultant that creativity and business opportunity are imperative for a successful startup. Looking for a dance studio to express her own creative outlet, she explored the Denver region to see what dance studios existed and what they offered. The more she searched, the more she realized that a true business opportunity existed.

Her idea? Start a boutique fitness studio that provided daily dance classes for adults. To move that concept forward, Jennifer sought professional guidance to build a successful business.

Her first step was searching for educational opportunities in Denver’s startup community. She was thrilled when she found the LEADING EDGE™ NxLeveL for Entrepreneurs course offered through the Denver Small Business Development Center (SBDC). The 11-week course provided the structure for Jennifer to test the feasibility of her idea, analyze risk, determine her target market and build her business model.

“The Denver Metro SBDC’s course structure, content and process—including access to qualified consultants—helped me create a comprehensive business plan that secured $1.3 million in SBA 504 funding for the purchase of my studio,” Jennifer said.

Her studio, dance2b, opened in February 2014. Classes focus on classic and fusion dance styles for beginner, intermediate and advanced dancers. Dance2b offers a fun, relaxed environment where dancers of all skill levels can learn technique and choreography in hip hop, jazz, salsa, ballet, contemporary, modern and more.

Along her journey, Jennifer recognized the importance of her relationships with consultants at the Denver Metro SBDC and professionals at the Office of Economic Development and Colorado Lending Source. Their assistance helped with everything from her business name and tagline to the location and financing. She continues to maintain these relationships today and looks forward to growing dance2b with their support and guidance.

In talking with Jennifer about what she would recommend to other potential entrepreneurs, she says there are six key elements: “relevant education, genuine partnerships, useful intuition, determination, a playful attitude and flexibility.”

MindCraft Makerspace

“An entrepreneur is someone who jumps off a cliff and builds a plane on the way down.” — Reid Hoffman Entrepreneurs are passionate risk-takers who make an impact on our economy, and they‘ve made Colorado a top-five state for startup activity and for innovation. Entrepreneurs know it takes a lot more than an idea to make a business come to life. Brenda Lane is co-founder of MindCraft Makerspace knows just that. Lane has poured herself

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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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Briar Common Brewery + Eatery

Kent Dawson is no stranger to the hard work it takes to start his own business. He learned young as he and his brother Greg spent their summer breaks helping their grandparents tend to their farm. “Spending time on ‘The Farm’ was no picnic: this wasn’t one of those grandparents spoiling the grandkids situation. It was exhausting!” Dawson recalled. Dawson and his wife moved to Denver in 2008, looking to enjoy what Denver and Colorado

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Create Cooking School

Create Cooking School has actively engaged with the SBDC community for two years by taking advantage of Leading Edge, Trout Tank, financial classes and multiple consultants within the network. And now, owners Erasmo Casiano and Diego Coconati are on the brink of opening Create Cooking School in the Stapleton neighborhood of Denver. Leading Edge played an important role in the growth of the company. Casiano learned that adapting and pivoting is beneficial to your business,

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C-21 Project

Keaunna Figgers, Denver’s newest fashionista, is raising awareness of Down syndrome and doing so in style through her company The C-21 Project, which refers to the extra 21st chromosome that she was born with. Born with Down syndrome, Figgers faced obstacles from the start – she had open-heart surgery at just 3 months old and was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at a very young age. Growing up with arthritis, Figgers would spend hours coloring in

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Ristole

“Moving to Denver set me on a trajectory that changed the course of my life.” For Ristole CEO Jackie Adams, a woman whose life has already taken many turns, that’s saying something. Starting her career in computer programming, she quickly found the hours behind a computer screen tedious. She then applied for and was accepted to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tanzania, where she taught high school math in Swahili. After returning to

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