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SUCCESS STORIES

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 anybody allowing amateur brewers to create their own recipes on commercial equipment? Was there any place where the everyday man or woman could brew a beer that would later be served to the public? They were drawing a blank; no such establishment existed.

This communal brewery idea remained just that—an idea—for ages until Christopher and Laura finally decided to act upon it. The first obstacle, though, was the lack of a business background. While both Brunses hold several college degrees between them, nary a one had a thing to do with business. As luck would happen, Laura read of another local brewery in the same position, another brewery with a passion for beer but inexperienced in all other facets of the brewing industry. So, they enrolled themselves into a program to help bolster their entrepreneurial acumen. That program was the Small Business Development Center’s LEADING EDGE Business Planning course.

Thinking that, if it worked for them, it’ll work for us, Christopher and Laura signed-up for the 10-week course. There, they learned just about everything they needed to know about running a business from advertising to legal matters to the culminating event: writing a complete business plan. The SBDC made what seemed an insurmountable task an easy, weekly assignment by dissecting each part of the plan, having students focus on one section at a time. To the uninitiated, a business plan seems a daunting tome of statistics and technicalities but, through the SBDC’s guidance, it was a simple, step-by-step process. At the end of the course, the Brunses had a plan they could be proud of; in fact, when their plan was entered into competition against their classmates’ plans, the Brunses won second-place.

Beyond the actual classwork, Christopher and Laura also found the networking between students and between instructors invaluable. Many connections were made through LEADING EDGE and the Brunses feel fortunate to have the support structure that was built for them by the SBDC.

Christopher and Laura further honed their business and brewing skills at the Brewery Immersion Course at the Colorado Boy Pub & Brewery in Ridgway, CO. Since then, they have overcome innumerable hurdles including finding a location, obtaining permits and licenses, and construction but, after years of work, Factotum Brewhouse is, as of February 2015, at last open and sating the thirsts of Denver’s Sunnyside neighborhood.

Come visit Christopher and Laura at Factotum Brewhouse where you, too, can drink community-crafted beer.

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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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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Fireside Production

“With resources like the Denver Metro Chamber and the Denver Metro SBDC – and a community of entrepreneurs and leaders who are so willing to share their insights – I have to admit, learning how to run a business has been one of my greatest joys.” Naomi Binkley, founder and managing partner of Fireside Production said. Naomi Binkley and Tom McDonald make their living telling others’ stories through video. They are committed to bringing creativity,

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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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Wong Way Veg

When Lisa Wong stepped foot into the Denver Metro Small Business Development Center in 2011, her dream of starting a food truck in Denver was just that – a dream. Wong envisioned herself running a business that would marry her love for vegetarian food with her passion for building community. Two years later, her dream became a reality. But Wong’s dream didn’t come to life without hard work. In the fall of 2012, she enrolled

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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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