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.