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SUCCESS STORIES

Safe Rids 4 Kids

Firefighter. Paramedic. Emergency responder. Over an 18 year career, Greg Durocher spent his days and nights responding to some of the most devastating collisions and catastrophes.

To prevent accidents and injury, Durocher decided to learn as much as possible about child passenger safety. “As responsible drivers we can only do our very best to ensure that our precious cargo is properly restrained with the best options available,” Durocher said, “so that if a crash occurs, we are giving our little loved ones the very best chance at the best possible outcome.”

When presented with the opportunity to build Safe Ride 4 Kids with his wife and two business partners, Durocher decided to take his passion for child passenger safety a step further and start a business dedicated to keeping kids safe. “We help parents keep their children safe during the most dangerous activity they are exposed to every day – driving,” CEO Durocher said.

Safe Ride 4 Kids
Safe Ride 4 Kids offers car seat safety education and innovative product solutions. From conception to birth, Safe Ride 4 Kids protects mom and developing baby with the crash-tested Tummy Shield which redirects the lap portion of the seat belt to the upper thigh/lower pelvis. For children three and older, Safe Ride 4 Kids offers the Ride Safer Travel Vest, a convenient and legal alternative to the booster and car seat.

Developing a Business Plan

While Durocher had 10 years of experience as a child passenger safety technician and instructor, he knew that he and his business partners would need a little guidance when it came to the business side of Safe Ride 4 Kids. That’s when he turned to the Denver Metro Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

Durocher had been in business just over a year and had been talking about writing a business plan since the very beginning. He met with a consultant at the SBDC and enrolled in the Leading Edge Business Planning Course.

“What a great experience that was”, Durocher said. “After 11 weeks I finally had a business plan but most importantly, I was able to share what I learned and take my business partners through the extremely valuable process of creating – not just writing – a business plan.

Competing in the Trout Tank

A year later, Durocher was selected to compete in the SBDC’s Trout Tank, where he had the opportunity to pitch to a “school” of 30 lenders, investors and venture capitalists for funding.

“I would strongly encourage any entrepreneur to commit to the process of competing in the Trout Tank,” Durocher said. “It’s not just about getting in front of the School of 30, which is very valuable in-and-of itself, but it’s about the process of distilling your vision down to 10 to 15 slides and communicating your dream in a compelling fashion in just five minutes.”

Durocher continued, “The most valuable part of the entire process is the journey you take to get yourself prepared. Give yourself and your business the gift of playing full out”

What’s Next?

While Safe Ride 4 Kids is still in discussions with lenders about potential funding – namely, First National Denver, presenting sponsor of the Sept. 2015 Trout Tank – Durocher is confident that he will find the right fit in a lender or investor. As a result of Leading Edge and Trout Tank, Durocher has also been able to make other great connections with strategic partners.

Since working with the SBDC, Safe Ride 4 Kids has grown revenue by over 200 percent. “Working with the SBDC has had a significant impact on my business because, as an entrepreneur, I often felt isolated and overwhelmed with all there is it to learn and know about starting and growing a business,” Durocher said.

Safe Ride 4 Kids is at a very exciting point in its business growth journey. “We have achieved some pretty amazing success so far and have done that applying what we knew and had learned along the way.”

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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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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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

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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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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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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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