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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.”

Alt Ethos

You may have seen their installations during Denver Startup week or read their name in 303 Magazine as “Denver Artists to Watch in 2018.” Alt Ethos is introducing a new way of capturing the attention of audiences through experiential design. By combining mixed reality (MR), augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to create interactive light displays, people are more than just viewers – they become part of the art display. CEO Ethan Bach and

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Denver Bouldering Club

The Denver Bouldering Club (DBC) started in 2009 when three local climbers – Thomas Betterton, Lee Payne, and Kevin Brown – decided that Denver’s passion for climbing and the outdoors deserved a better indoor training facility. What began as a dream to construct a small training center has now grown into one of the best climbing gyms in Colorado – a gathering place where climbers can learn, train and share their love of climbing. “It’s

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Moss Pink

A love of flowers led Jil Schlisner to buy an existing flower shop in 2006, rename it and build her business by creating inspirational, beautiful atmospheres for clients. She believes people should wear flowers more often, in the form of corsages and boutonnieres—and on ordinary Wednesdays, not only proms or weddings. Moss Pink Flora & Botanicals, located on E. 23rd and Dexter streets in Denver, provides clients with beautiful shopping environment, as well as personal

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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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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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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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