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

SUCCESS STORIES

Paleo Meals To Go

A few years ago, Ty Soukup went on his first multi-day backpacking trip around the Maroon Bells 14ers in Colorado. But, his biggest challenge wasn’t the terrain – it was figuring out what to eat.

He couldn’t find any backpacking meal options that would fit with his Paleo diet. “I thought to myself, why isn’t someone making a backpacker meal that appeals to folks on alternative diets?” Soukup recalled. “It was in that moment that I pledged to do something about this for all others like me.”

A few months later, and after some market research, he launched Paleo Meals To Go with his mom, Dawn Anderson.

Soukup and Anderson began engaging in the Denver Metro Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce in 2014 to get their business going. Then, just three years later sold Paleo Meals To Go in December to Wild Zora Foods.

Their business got the jump start it needed after winning both the Peoples’ and Judges’ Choice awards at the Trout Tank Food Frenzy: Pitch Event.

“Winning Trout Tank gave our company a lot of good exposure to investors and boosted our confidence as a company,” Anderson said. “It also helped us establish the content for subsequent pitches we needed to make.”

Quickly following Trout Tank, Anderson enrolled in Leading Edge for Entrepreneurs. She won the class business plan competition and moved onto a state competition hosted by the statewide SBDC network. Along with building a strong business plan, Anderson developed relationships with entrepreneurs in the course.

“I enjoyed the camaraderie of visiting with other business owners who had the same struggles and who could offer helpful suggestions,” Anderson said.

While learning the technical concepts about running a business – from supply chain to cash flow statements – she also gained value through the “soft” information the facilitator provided. Anderson learned about balancing work and home life, how to de-stress, take care of herself and keep things in perspective: “Owning a business is a tough job and it can be very rewarding. But there must be a balance so we can continue to live, grow, love and share our lives with our families and friends.”

Since the sale, Anderson is working with them to ensure a smooth transition, learning about mergers and acquisitions, transitioning and all that comes with the process. “That’s what it’s all about – continuing to learn and grow,” Anderson advises.

Trout Tank and Leading Edge programs are both run three times a year at the Chamber and Denver Metro SBDC. Check out our calendar for upcoming programs!

My Identity Doctor

What was the inspiration behind starting your business? I was inspired to start My Identity Doctor™ not to become rich, but because I believe if you truly care about customers, the quality of your product and believe in yourself, the money will come naturally in conjunction with the right business plan. No other company that employs me can pay me enough for the self-gratification of putting in a hard days work and at the end

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Open Road Snacks

In January of 2007, Karen and Tim Bradley were looking for an opportunity to combine Tim’s expertise in consumer packaged goods, finance and operations with Karen’s background in graphic design, marketing and sales. That’s when they acquired Rocky Mountain Popcorn Company. “We work really well together and we wanted to use both sides of our collective brain,” Karen said. “With our experience in brand management, we recognized that, while Rocky Mountain Popcorn was proven in

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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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Under the Sky Event Rental

The idea to launch Under the Sky Event Rental came to Rebecca Anderson when she told her seatmate on a flight to Denver about her wedding. She and husband Patrick had their intimate wedding under katas—Nordic tents that resemble Native American tepees. But, she had only seen them rented in her native United Kingdom. “That planted the seed,” she said. Back in the U.K., there are roughly 30 kata rental companies, up from just seven

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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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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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