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SUCCESS STORIES

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 in the NxLeveL for Creatives program and buckled down to write a business plan for her food truck. Her plan was reviewed by bankers from Wells Fargo and accountants from EKS&H and Wong was awarded first place in the Denver Metro SBDC’s NxLeveL for Creatives business plan competition.

After the NxLeveL course ended, Wong kept on trucking. She continued to visit the SBDC for routine consulting appointments to get assistance in a variety of areas from marketing to business-related legal advice. “Whether I have new ideas, feel stuck, or need a push in the right direction, the consultants offer knowledgeable advice with genuine concern to better my business. And the fact that all of the consultants have small business ties of their own gives me comfort and confidence in the advice they were giving,” says Wong.

Wong’s dedication and hard work did not go unnoticed among SBDC consultants, and she was referred to a banker who provided her with a small loan to get her business started. While Wong did not get the full $50,000 she originally asked for, she was granted a $13,000 SBA loan.

But she stayed optimistic about her dream. “If it wasn’t for the SBDC consulting and completing the NxLeveL program, I would have never been given the opportunity to connect with the lender and present my plan,” said Wong. And in July of 2013, she sold her first sandwich from her new food truck, WongWayVeg.

Providing original vegetarian cuisine, WongWayVeg is proud of its Colorado roots, showcasing a variety of produce from local farmers and vendors. “WongWayVeg brings a healthier, more compassionate alternative to the streets of Denver,” says Wong. “I am inspired by building community, educating others and seeing people smile when they eat my food.”

WongWayVeg has set up shop at some of the hippest spots in Denver – including Nooch Vegan Market, River North Brewery, the Park Hill Home Tour and Street Fair, and Sunday on the Streets, to name a few. Wong also showcased her new business at the Denver Metro SBDC’s 2013 Main Street Mentors Walk in August, where early-stage entrepreneurs were matched with seasoned business owners. Walkers were inspired by her story and delighted by her healthy breakfast and lunch options.

While Wong is still in her first year of business, she has already developed a private label featuring prepackaged foods and selling in small local markets. Wong projects steady sales from her food truck and plans to have enough cash flow to expand into a fully-functional kitchen.

Wong’s story shows that a dedicated entrepreneur can accomplish their goals even when there are roadblocks. “I’ve had to rework a few things, start up with a fraction of the projected cost and face some industry hurdles. Through everything, I was helped and encouraged by the SBDC. WongWayVeg is proof that you can achieve your dreams by starting with a little, making good connections, and being educated and motivated.”

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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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,

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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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Snooze

On any given morning, Snooze’s retro, 50’s-style space is jam-packed with people clamoring to get their names on a lengthy wait list. The draw? A stack of sweet potato or cinnamon roll pancakes, or what some have dubbed “the best breakfast burrito in the world.” A touch of upscale flair makes Snooze owner Jon Schlegel’s fare stand out among fellow bringers of breakfast and lunch. Offerings include “Vanilla Almond Oatmeal Brulée” or “Pork’s Benediction,” a

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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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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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