LEADING EDGE™ for Entrepreneurs
“This was the ‘bootcamp’ I needed in the early stages of my business.”
Thinking of Starting Your Own Business?
LEADING EDGE™ for Entrepreneurs is a 10-week course designed to teach you how to start and grow a successful business based on an actionable business plan. Through a blended-learning format, combining an online learning platform with classroom sessions, interactive learning exercises and expert guest speakers, you will be given the resources to help you start or run your own business.
The course is designed to give you a practical concept that you can apply to your current business or concept for years to come. By the end of the course, you will understand the aspects of running a business, a sound financial vision and have a written business plan or strategy
Questions? Contact Rob Rose by email or phone at 303.620.8045.
What To Expect
- Ten three-hour sessions including interactive group work and guest speakers
- Access to an online learning platform with weekly reading and presentations, group discussion forums, homework, financial spreadsheets and templates to build your plan of action
- One-on-one consulting available
- Feedback on your business plan or strategy during the course
- Introduction to potential lenders at a Funding Options Panel
- Free registration to workshops at the Denver Metro SBDC while enrolled
- Entry into a class business plan competition for a chance to win prizes and have your business plan reviewed by consultants and banker or an accountant
- Entry into an annual statewide business plan competition with cash prizes
- Assistance getting a funding ask together
- Discounted participation in Trout Tank, a program training you to pitch at an event to lenders and investors
LEADING EDGE for Entrepreneurs is held 3 times per year, in the Spring, summer, and fall.
Opens October 1st
January 30 – April 2, 2020 | Thursdays | 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.
April 16th, 2020 | 5:30-7:00 pm
Statewide Graduation at Governors Mansion
Payment is not required at registration, but is due before first day of class.
Standard Course Fee
Early Bird Special (Register and pay by January 24; code EarlyBird)
Each Additional Employee
Leading Edge Retake Fee
LEADING EDGE For Entrepreneurs Curriculum
Get to know your neighbor
Finding the right market
Intro to Business Model Canvas
Start your financials
Getting to know your customers
Developing a Marketing Strategy
Discovering your Funding Options
(Hear from a variety of marketing experts)
Understanding your financials
(Guest speaker, group activities, individual exercises)
Professional Advisories Panel
(Ask legal, insurance, HR, Accounting, and Real Estate questions to professionals)
Planning beyond Leading Edge
Drop and Transfer Regulations:
Drops: Any drop must be done within the first week. You will receive almost a full reimbursement – $50 will stay with the SBDC to cover hard costs.
Transfer: Anyone wishing to transfer must do so within the first three weeks. The transfer must be to the next upcoming class.
Meet the Facilitators
Alea Kilgore is a business strategist and unshakable optimist who coaches and trains entrepreneurs to create purpose-driven, profitable businesses and brands. After spending nearly a decade working in small business development centers with businesses of all sizes and scopes, Alea knows what truly drives brand awareness and sales traction and attracts investors – and its not replicating what everyone else has done or mastering the marketing flavor of the week. It’s how well you authentically connect with the people you’re trying to help and communicate your understanding back to them.
Alea has also worked in small businesses and is currently the Director of Business Development for one of the top restaurant concessionaires in the state, Mission Yogurt. Alea also consults with entrepreneurs spanning multiple industries – from food and restaurants to health and wellness.
Alea holds an BS in business and an MBA in marketing from Missouri State University.
Greg Durocher is Co-founder and CEO at Safe Ride 4 Kids, LLC. Greg first came to the SBDC as a client in 2014. He was looking for ways to expand his business and knew that he needed a formal business plan to present when seeking funding, wether that be a loan or investors. He found in the SBDC class offering, including Leading Edge, exactly what he needed to compliment the consulting he received.
Fast forward to today. Greg and his business have received recognition and awards in the state wide business plan competition and Trout Tank pitch event and his business SafeRide4Kids.com is growing nicely with over a million dollars in cumulative sales since taking the class. Because of his history as an SBDC client, his entrepreneurial success, his desire to serve and his background in training & coaching, Greg was invited to take over facilitating the Leading Edge class as well to be on the team of consultants serving the SBDC’s clients. Greg also has a second successful business that is related to his to coaching and training endeavors.
Before entering the world of entrepreneurs Greg was a career firefighter/paramedic for thirteen years and a volunteer for five years prior to that. For more than 15 years he has also been a student of human behavior and change. He has trained under and learned from the very best in the world: Tony Robbins, Steve Linder, Cloe Madanes, John Gray, Deborah Battersby and many others. His training includes: Human Needs Psychology, Strategic Intervention, Neurostrategies, NLP, Hypnotherapy and EmMatrix. With this diverse background he can help business owners on many levels in their entrepreneurial journey.
In 2003 he married his wife, Amie (who is also one of his business Co-Founders). They have three children and they live, work and play in Denver, Colorado.
Denver Arts and Venues is proud to partner with Denver Metro SBDC in supporting the growth and development of the creative sector by offering five scholarships for spring, summer and fall courses (15 total year round) to creative businesses, organizations and individuals in the city and county of Denver.
Scholarship recipients will receive a 50% reimbursement of their LEADING EDGE™ tuition fee.
Colorado Lending Source is offering scholarships to LEADING EDGE™ participants who also enroll in their Ice House Entrepreneurship training. Complete Ice House Entrepreneurship before LEADING EDGE™ and get $75 off your LEADING EDGE™ tuition fees. Or enroll in Ice House Entrepreneurship after LEADING EDGE™ and receive a $75 discount.
To receive the scholarship, register for LEADING EDGE™ and let the SBDC know you are an Ice House Entrepreneurship graduate OR enroll in the Ice House program and let Colorado Lending Source know you are a LEADING EDGE™ graduate in order to get the discount.
Meet LEADING EDGE Alumni
Dawn Anderson and her son Ty Soukup founded Paleo Meals To Go in 2013, to offer paleo options for outdoor enthusiasts and people on the move.
Fun Fact: She taught her cat to jump through a hoop, sit, shake, and ring a bell for her dinner!
Why Leading Edge? “The Leading Edge helped me understand the benefit of writing a business plan. I wish I had known about and taken the class at the beginning instead of three years into my business. I had no idea how much work it was going to be, but the time spent was well worth the effort due to the in-depth understanding I gained about my business.”
Danielle Atcheson is an Executive Health Coach, specializing in integrative and functional health. In 2016, she left her Fortune 500 executive role to found One Degree Health – a wellness education company that produces personal development programming and online courses for busy professionals, grounded on her core philosophy of simple yet powerful “one degree” micro-changes integrated into your typical day can lead you towards your best health.
Fun Fact: I studied Aerospace Engineering in college. So when I say “Improving your health isn’t rocket science”, I’m speaking from experience ;).
Why Leading Edge? “When I left corporate to start One Degree Health, I knew that the first thing I would need was a business plan, yet had no idea where to start other than googling “how to start a business”. Luckily, I came across the amazing resources available at Denver’s Small Business Development Center and their Leading Edge program.
Leading Edge was exactly what I needed to take my idea from a thought-bubble to reality. Through our weekly workshops and peer discussions, my instructor and classmates really helped me get clear on the ins-and-outs of my business model. I also appreciated how well-rounded and holistic the curriculum was – one week we’re discussing the entrepreneurial mindset, and in the next, we’re learning social media and tax laws, all while building out our business plans. I highly recommend Leading Edge to anyone wanting to validate a business idea or looking for how to improve or expand their existing business.”
My company is Illuminating Purpose (illuminatingpurpose.com, email@example.com). I am a Paterson Life Plan facilitator and a coach/speaker with the John Maxwell Team. I help people to get crystal clear as to their purpose and core values so that their lives have great impact and fulfillment. Through clarity of vision, clients begin to reflect the best of who they are created to be.
Fun Fact: My guilty pleasure is travel and experiencing different cultures. I’m never more in my skin than when I’m in a different country experiencing it for the first time.
Why Leading Edge? “Leading Edge was pivotal for me and for the trajectory of Illuminating Purpose! In the course of writing a business plan I gained so much more than I could have imagined. Through the process of writing the plan, I started to get really clear on WHY I do the work I do, the benefits of my work to my clients and an ability to communicate clearly the value and need for my company. Being in a community of entrepreneurs fueled my creativity and I will be forever grateful for what I’ve learned from the program. I felt incredibly supported in learning how to run a successful business. SBDC has an endless supply of resources for the small business owner and is a great asset to the Denver community.”
Mario Esparza created PB Love to provide handcrafted, artisan nut butter, that is 100% real food product, to deliver a “ridiculous” eating experience.
Fun Fact: He is a classically trained musician and he plays the clarinet.
Why Leading Edge? “Leading Edge helped with confidence and introduced me to an awesome and kind group of people that provided me with some very needed moral support!”
I am in the business of helping people feel their best, through customized Acupuncture, herbal medicine and nutritional support.
Fun fact: I am in the circus!
Why Leading Edge? “Leading Edge helped me to focus my vision and access the true essence of what I am doing so that I can eloquently deliver my medicine to the people.”
Justin Keys owns a bar in Steamboat Springs that focuses on Colorado made brews, spirits and wine.
Why Leading Edge? “I am a Colorado guy who worked for Fortune 500 companies my whole life, until one day I threw it all to the wind, quit my career to work on starting a brewery, and happened upon Leading Edge and the SBDC at just the perfect time.
Leading Edge did so much for me. It taught me how to think differently, and how to flush out ideas and details. I learned how to build a very effective business plan that saved me over a million dollars when it convinced me not to move forward with the brewery. Leading Edge also taught me the power of the pivot, which led me to buying a craft beer bar in Steamboat Springs. Looking back on it, I never would’ve been happy unless I moved forward with my original idea, but LE taught me that you can be even happier when your idea changes.
I now own a bar in Steamboat Springs that focuses on Colorado made brews, spirits, and wine. We only buy one of each keg so our menu changes almost daily. The Barley is a place for locals and tourists alike, where you’ll always find something new to try, and it will always be served with a smile!”
Sonja Leigh & Ruben Cedera
Sangre Azul celebrates life & friends by crafting crave-able mouth-watering Premium Cocktail Juices to enjoy when out and at home. In business since Cinco de Mayo 2016 it is sold in Argonaut, SoBo Liquors, Boulder Wines and served at Tap XIV and Hayters.
Why Leading Edge? “With the help of the SBDC Leading Edge and a solid business plan… we are soon to expand operations and increase sales revenue by selling in additional targeted locations!”
Chris Love is Partner & Chief of Technical Services at VISKA Consulting. They have made it their mission to help business leaders and organizations realize the path to their greatest success.
Fun Fact: Chris can be heard on Pandora with The Remus Tucker Band on their new single Lonely Mile.
Why Leading Edge? “This program helped me think about my business in ways that I had not previously. I was able to put together a business plan and get feedback from instructors as well as peers, which was very insightful and helpful.”
Matt Marshall is founder of Just be…LLC, a company that offers consulting and coaching to help organizations and individuals in the architecture, engineering & construction (AEC) industry envision, define, align with and achieve their full potential.
Fun Fact: Had his “15 minutes of fame” early in his life as a member and featured soloist of the Philadelphia Boys Choir & Men’s Chorale.
Why Leading Edge? “This class was the “bootcamp” I needed in the early stages of my venture. The simplicity and structure of the business canvas, the weekly commitment to work “on my business” collaboratively with other participants and the diverse backgrounds of the experts brought in to share their stories and answer questions were invaluable to me.”