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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.

Med-Fit

Med-Fit, PLLC provides physician-supervised individualized weight management systems designed to help overweight and obese clients lose and maintain a healthy weight. Owner Dr. Angela Tran is Board-Certified in Internal Medicine and Obesity Medicine and has practiced in primary care since 2007. Despite Angela’s extensive education and experience, she admits she knew very little about how to start a business when she decided to seek assistance from the Denver Metro SBDC in January of 2012. Angela

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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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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

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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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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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Open Road Snacks

In January of 2007, Karen and Tim Bradley were looking for an opportunity to combine Tim’s expertise in consumer packaged goods, finance and operations with Karen’s background in graphic design, marketing and sales. That’s when they acquired Rocky Mountain Popcorn Company. “We work really well together and we wanted to use both sides of our collective brain,” Karen said. “With our experience in brand management, we recognized that, while Rocky Mountain Popcorn was proven in

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