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

SUCCESS STORIES

The PB Love CO

“We want to feed people real, delicious food and make them happy!” That’s how PB Love CO , a Denver Metro Small Business Development Center (SBDC) company describes themselves, and it’s apparent in everything they do. PB Love is committed to creating stone-ground, handcrafted, artisan nut butter, using only real-food ingredients in every jar they make.

Mario Esparza had been perfecting the flavor, consistency and ingredients of his own nut butter for over 12 years, but the idea of making it into a business never occurred to him. The idea was sparked a few years back when a friend tasted it and said “Mario, you should sell this – I would buy it!”. Almost immediately, Esparza began making small jars to give to friends for feedback.

Esparza came to the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce and SBDC in 2014. He and his co-founder, Andy Mason, wanted to create a business model, learn about their target market and map out next steps. The company launched in March 2015, with their first sale on April 9 of that year. Mason left the company in 2016.

After a few years of seeing consultants, Esparza joined the fall 2017 LEADING EDGE for Entrepreneurs cohort where he not only created a business plan, but also established relationships that still flourish today.

Esparza and a few others from that LEADING EDGE class formed a monthly accountability group. “These relationships have helped me in so many ways, but the most help I get as an entrepreneur is the emotional, moral and sincere support from this group,” Esparza said.

During LEADING EDGE, he joined Trout Tank, the SBDC’s pitch accelerator program. As his business grew, he knew he needed capital and to sharpen his pitch: “I learned how to actually talk about my business, which has helped me begin to solidify the brand that is PB Love Co.”

Esparza was a finalist in the Trout Tank Food Frenzy and pitched PB Love Co to lenders, investors and the Denver business community.

“The SBDC has been a major help in just being there for emotional and moral support. That can breed a lot of confidence which can foster excellent productivity and result in executing our business plan,” Esparza said.

As a part of becoming an entrepreneur, Esparza has found that becoming a leader is extremely challenging. “Becoming a leader is very different than being a leader. It means learning how to work with people in what you ask of them, and the results they produce are incredibly impactful and productive because they trust you and they believe in your message – the most challenging part is learning about yourself,” Esparza said.

This does not happen overnight. You realize where your strengths and weaknesses lie, and develop the skills to build a strong team that you can trust and that trusts you. “Being a leader is the most challenging thing I have ever done,” Esparza said.

Halfway through their third year in business, Esparza is challenging himself and his team to grow into strong leaders as they develop and release new products into the market.

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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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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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.

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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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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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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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