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SUCCESS STORIES

Beyond Microgreens

Beyond Microgreens was founded with a clear mission in mind: to connect people with powerful plants and fill nutritional gaps in their diet. Although founder Stephen Cowan spent 10 years in software sales selling enterprise solutions, he felt that there was more he could do for others.

“My inspiration [for Beyond Microgreens] was a trip to the jungles of Peru,” Cowan said. There, he discovered the health and vitality of plants, and how connected the local communities were to their environment. This trip spurred a passion in Cowan to connect and educate others on the health benefits of plants.

It was this passion that led to the creation of Beyond Microgreens. Cowan describes himself as a “first-time entrepreneur,” and his business journey has had its ups and downs. For Cowan, one of the most challenging aspects is the loneliness that can accompany starting and running your own business, especially in the initial stages. However, Cowan says he’s also had the benefit of meeting one of the greatest teachers he’s ever had, and he’s made some of his best friends through this work. Meeting passionate people and learning along the way has taken his business acumen to a new level, “it’s basically my MBA,” said Cowan.

While there have been challenges, Cowan found success with Beyond Microgreens, winning the Social Impact Startup of Colorado award in 2021, and recently winning Trout Tank: Food Frenzy with the Denver Metro Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

After attending classes at the Denver Metro SBDC, Cowan learned how to “simplify the business.” Some of his biggest takeaways have been scaling different parts of his business so that internal operations cover everything from cleaning, shipping, marketing and more. He now also also recognizes when to lean on partners and what his role entails. All these lessons have helped influence the future growth and development of Beyond Microgreens.

Cowan recently finished his second round of Trout Tank: Food Frenzy. He says he initially enrolled a second time because he was considering a new business path, but after exploring options and learning more about small business development, Cowan simplified Beyond Microgreens instead.

Looking to the future of Beyond Microgreens, Cowan says he’s excited about bringing on an integrator and co-founder to focus on internal operations, while Cowan can focus more externally. He also looks forward to having a more quantifiable impact environmentally and within individuals’ health.

A message that Cowan wishes to emphasize with the public is to eat more plants, and to understand the power and magic of photosynthesis. Plants eat light, and when you eat plants, you are filling yourself with that light, and he hopes to spread that.

Future Fit Foods

Future Fit Foods is a woman-and-minority-owned food startup out of Boulder, Colorado, bringing people diverse plant-based foods that prioritize the wellbeing and happiness of people and communities. They are also the winners of the 2021 Trout Tank CPG Pitch Event. Paloma Lopez, founder of Future Fit Foods realized the change people were making was incremental because the business models, brands, and products had not been designed with today’s sustainability and nutrition needs in mind. After

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MindCraft Makerspace

“An entrepreneur is someone who jumps off a cliff and builds a plane on the way down.” — Reid Hoffman Entrepreneurs are passionate risk-takers who make an impact on our economy, and they‘ve made Colorado a top-five state for startup activity and for innovation. Entrepreneurs know it takes a lot more than an idea to make a business come to life. Brenda Lane is co-founder of MindCraft Makerspace knows just that. Lane has poured herself

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Rupp’s Drums

Rupp’s Drums serves the Denver community with a wide range of music merchandise from drums and apparel to lessons and rentals. Run by a team of experienced musicians, they certainly know their stuff! Learn more about this accomplished SBDC client and finalist for Small Business of the Year at the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce 2022 Business Awards below. Rupp’s Drums began back in 1984 and was later purchased in 2018 by Alex Simpson, a

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Back2Basics

Brittany Winkfield is like a lot of entrepreneurs. She saw a gap in the marketplace and instead of waiting for someone else to fill it, she went after it herself. Led by a belief and desire that a Christian lifestyle magazine existed within the community, she used her creative skills, business network, and the SBDC to create Back2Basics Magazine. And she did it with the grace and style of a dedicated entrepreneur that understands how

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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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Coppertops Paperie

When considering starting her own business, Jessica Burke was given the advice, “do something you completely love, even in the tiny details.” The only thing she felt absolutely certain she loved – tiny details and all – was paper products. Jessica’s passion drove her to start CopperTops Paperie, a company that sells personalized paper products, in 2013. CopperTops is most widely known for their patent-pending bottle wrap, which emerged from a conversation with a customer

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