Similar to a child losing their precious toy, Katrina Boldry's loss of a 17 year old dog leash was a new beginning for her and surprisingly many others around the world.
It all started because as a child Katrina owned every animal imaginable. She even had the perseverance to raise a guide dog, Poco. The sturdy, multipurpose leash for Poco broke after 17 years and there was no such quality product to replace it. Katrina's willpower kicked in, she decided to buy the tools needed to make a leash of her own. It was a success!
Katrina knew her skill could help others. In fact her market consisted of 20,000 service dogs nationwide. She pursued her talent and combined her affection for animals and passion for helping people to establish Bold Lead Designs in 2006. In the beginning, she sold to family and friends, then moved up to craft and pet shows, and eventually moved her business online where she now sells internationally to several countries including: Canada, UK, France, Spain, Norway, Denmark, Czechoslovakia, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and Croatia.
When she first started her business, Katrina knew she had unique skills to make the product but wanted to improve her knowledge. She completed a 13 week business success course through Colorado's Women's Business Center known as Mi Casa Resource Center. Katrina states,
“Mi Casa has been an invaluable resource. As a solo entrepreneur, I would never have gotten the business off the ground so successfully without the guidance of the wonderful counselors at Mi Casa. They are compassionate and understand how complex starting a business can be, and helped me focus on the important details necessary to get started. They have been there for me every time I have a technical question about business licenses, taxes, even how to start a email campaign. They have a rich network of other professionals and services to recommend as well.”
Katrina’s business took flight with her strong dedication and the help of Mi Casa’s success course. Within her first year, Bold Lead Designs marked growth and brand recognition and earned first year profits. Since then sales have essentially doubled each year and are on track to double sales again in 2012.
Katrina’s next challenge was taking her business to the next level and doing it right. She focused her efforts to make exactly what service dog owners want and need. Along with her business efforts she volunteered with service dog groups and gained feedback from owners of service dogs and incorporated what they needed into her products.
Katrina was then asked to design a harness for balance and mobility. At first the project seemed impossible but with her love and support for guide dogs she had the confidence to give it a shot. Katrina asked skilled animal surgeons and therapists to come up with the best design for stability and movement. The harnesses are now one of her bestselling products.
Katrina’s unknown craftiness led to a rewarding career. Bold Lead Designs continues to succeed, grow, and fill the need for service dog equipment all while being a local, handcrafted, women-owned small business.
What began as a home-brew hobby has turned into a thriving brewery business for Kevin DeLange and his wife Michelle. Kevin is the President of Dry Dock Brewing Co, an Aurora base craft brewery that began in 2005. Dry Dock Brewing began winning awards for its beer as early as 2006, winning the World Beer Cup Gold H.M.S Victory ESB in the Special or Best Bitter category. Since then, Dry Dock has won 3 additional World Beer Cup awards and 11 Great American Beer Festival medals including Small Brewing Company of the Year in 2009.
Kevin and Michelle began their relationship with the U.S. Small Business Administration by utilizing SBA’s 7(a) loan program. In 2009 and again in 2011 they used the 7(a) loan program to finance tenant improvements and to purchase an additional bottling machine, fermenters and kegs. They recently were approved for an SBA 504 loan to finance a 30,000 square foot building in Aurora Colorado. The new facility will house a 4-vessel, 40 barrel brew-house that will eventually be capable of producing more than 60,000 barrels of beer per year (one barrel is 31 U.S. gallons). Their goal is to brew 12,000 barrels in the first year. In addition to utilizing SBA’s loan guaranty programs, Kevin is a participant in the 2012 SBA Emerging 200 Initiative – a 7-month curriculum that enables participants to engage in focused development and expansion strategies for their business.
Since opening, Dry Dock Brewing has never been able to keep up with the demand for their award-winning beer. Kevin and Michelle’s approach to growth has been incremental and slow – all part of their plan to grow from a small brewery to a medium-sized brewery. Their production has grown from 300 barrels in 2006 to 3,200 barrels projected for 2012. On a typical Friday night, the brewery will pour 15 barrels or 4,200 glasses of beer. Pretty impressive for a guy from Iowa whose business started as a hobby!
JG Management Systems, Inc. (JGMS) is a company that specializes in technical management services. They utilize engineering methodologies to provide operational and technical support to their clients. Jerome Gonzales founded JGMS in 2001 and started with one employee. Today, Jerome has grown his company to more than 57 full-time employees and 28 consultants. Jerome believes for a company to truly be successful, the company needs to also be a part of the community. “We want our company not only to do well, but also to do good!” Each year, five percent of corporate profits are donated to charitable nonprofit organizations within the community. Jerome believes that servant leadership is important, and because of this, he provides paid time off to all of his employees so they too can contribute time to a charity of their choice. 'SBA has been a huge influence on our success and the assistance of the 8a program as well as the Business Development Specialist (BDS) has benefited our company greatly.' Additionally, JGMS provides 100% of employee and family medical, dental, and vision, as well as short and long-term disability insurance and a matching IRA program.