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The Denver Metro Small Business Development Center
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GreenPrint LLC

GreenPrint LLC was formed by Ben Rather and DeShawn Phenix in 2020. GreenPrint, which provides its clients with the knowledge and tools to navigate the complexities of money and achieve financial wellness, was formed when Rather and Phenix saw the necessity for the next generation to know more about personal finance. “We’ve been through those struggles ourselves,” said Rather, “and [we] want to pass along tools and resources that see young folks more financially empowered as they grow into adulthood.” While Rather and Phenix had a clear vision for their business, they knew they needed some help with the foundations of getting it started.

There were a variety of challenges for GreenPrint in the beginning, centering on funding and defining their customers. “Despite a communal understanding that the service we provide is so needed, we’re always on the hunt for folks who want to promote our vision with their dollars,” said Phenix.

Through their work with the Denver Metro Small Business Development Center, Rather said they were able to narrow down who their target audience is and how to approach them, “We currently sit very comfortably in the business-to-business space, opening up the opportunity to provide our resources to more people at once as opposed to a more direct business-to-consumer model.”

Despite the challenges that accompany starting any business, they have managed to accomplish a variety of milestones and successes. “One of our biggest successes to date is ongoing programming that we run within different campuses of Denver Public Schools,” said Phenix. “Getting in front of kids early, before they are faced with too many of life’s financial hurdles, is key for us.”

Phenix says the goal for GreenPrint is to see their vision come to fruition, “Creating a world where everyone is empowered with equal financial knowledge. If we are able to look back and see that what we’ve done sparked systematic educational change, we’ll know we’ve accomplished something.”

When asked what advice they would pass on to their former selves if given the chance, Rather and Phenix say, “We’d tell ourselves to just keep going. There are going to be great times ahead and challenging times ahead. But hold on to that spark your vision created. For it is very powerful and will make all of those challenging times worth the struggle!”

Daddy’s Homemade

Daddy’s Homemade Syrup embarked on its journey with a mission to provide families with an all-natural alternative to traditional syrups and pancake mix. What started as a homemade treat for their own kids evolved into a business inspired by their daughter’s drawings, adorning each label with a touch of family creativity. Beyond breakfast, the unique flavors found their way into various culinary delights, becoming a household staple.

The entrepreneurial journey began in February 2020, just before the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Amidst raising three children and dealing with health issues, the founders faced the demands of scaling their business. The Small Business Development Center became a crucial ally during this time, providing support and resources.

Equipped with experience in the food industry and business management, the founders found the CPG industry and wholesale space to be unfamiliar territory. The SBDC proved invaluable, offering consultants and resources to navigate complexities. Virtual courses and meetings facilitated continuous learning and growth.

Post-SBDC participation, the business connected with vital resources, completed a woman-owned business certification application, and gained a deeper understanding of the trademark process. Daddy’s Homemade was also  awarded the Denver Broncos Business Boost, out of almost 700 nominated businesses.

Describing their entrepreneurial journey as empowering, Daddy’s Homemade Syrup transformed from a desire to share syrup into a CEO-led venture. The business evolved into a symbol of unity, togetherness, and cherished moments, inspiring creativity in the kitchen. It’s not just about delicious toppings; it’s about building lasting memories and fostering a sense of unity through shared experiences. The products bring a unique sense of togetherness, making the entrepreneurial journey an unparalleled and heartwarming experience.

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