Magbelt - sUCCESSFUL kICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN
Devin O'Neill of Magzook Tightening Systems completed the Plan Forward curriculum in the Summer of 2014 as part of the 10-week Leading Edge Business Planning Program at the Denver Metro SBDC in Colorado. As an inventor he had created an innovative belt system called the Magbelt that revolutionizes the simple concept of the belt. He knew his product and he knew his customers. However, finding investors for new products is not an easy task. He used what he knew about his customer to create a highly successful Kickstarter Campaign. They pre-sold 16,000 belts, raised $583,545.00 and gained 9,707 supporters. They are now in production.
Factotum Brewhouse - Chris and Laura Bruns Story
The concept of Factotum Brewhouse was first imagined when siblings Christopher and Laura Bruns met their other brother and sister for dinner. As it usually goes when the four congregate, several beers were consumed and, before long, the idea of a homebrewer-driven craft brewery began to materialize.
No strangers to the craft beer scene, Christopher and Laura began racking their minds, trying to think of any brewery—local or otherwise—that truly focused on homebrewers. Was there anybody allowing amateur brewers to create their own recipes on commercial equipment? Was there any place where the everyday man or woman could brew a beer that would later be served to the public? They were drawing a blank; no such establishment existed.
This communal brewery idea remained just that—an idea—for ages until Christopher and Laura finally decided to act upon it. The first obstacle, though, was the lack of a business background. While both Brunses hold several college degrees between them, nary a one had a thing to do with business. As luck would happen, Laura read of another local brewery in the same position, another brewery with a passion for beer but inexperienced in all other facets of the brewing industry. So, they enrolled themselves into a program to help bolster their entrepreneurial acumen. That program was the Small Business Development Center’s (SBDC) Leading Edge Business Planning Course.
Thinking that, if it worked for them, it’ll work for us, Christopher and Laura signed-up for the 10-week course. There, they learned just about everything they needed to know about running a business from advertising to legal matters to the culminating event: writing a complete business plan. The SBDC made what seemed an insurmountable task an easy, weekly assignment by dissecting each part of the plan, having students focus on one section at a time. To the uninitiated, a business plan seems a daunting tome of statistics and technicalities but, through the SBDC’s guidance, it was a simple, step-by-step process. At the end of the course, the Brunses had a plan they could be proud of; in fact, when their plan was entered into competition against their classmates’ plans, the Brunses won second-place.
Beyond the actual classwork, Christopher and Laura also found invaluable the networking between students and between instructors. Many connections were made through NxLevel and the Brunses feel fortunate to have the support structure that was built for them by the SBDC.
Christopher and Laura further honed their business and brewing skills at the Brewery Immersion Course at the Colorado Boy Pub & Brewery in Ridgway, CO. Since then, they overcame innumerable hurdles including finding a location, obtaining permits and licenses, and construction but, after years of work, Factotum Brewhouse is, as of February 2015, at last open and sating the thirsts of Denver’s Sunnyside neighborhood. Come visit Christopher and Laura at Factotum Brewhouse where you, too, can drink community-crafted beer.
Winner of 2015 SBDC State "Best Business Plan"
Greg Durocher, owner of SafeRide4Kids, is the 2015 SBDC State Winner of the "Best Business Plan for the Year". Greg participated in the SBDC Leading Edge course at Metro Denver SBDC. Although he had already started his business, he realized he needed to write a "real" business plan that would lay out a winning strategy that he and his partners could put into action. He was an active participant in the class, did the work and completed the program. In February, he attended the celebration at the Governor's Mansion and was designated the winner and received a $500 check for his efforts. His business has continued to grow every month and he has chosen to become a facilitator for the program and teach others what he has learned as a small business owner.