The Essential Project

Believing the traditional clinic model was missing a big section of the population, Dr. Susan Hansen created The Essential Project in late 2020 during the pandemic. The company’s mission is to deliver health and wellness services to communities across rural Eagle County through an innovative mobile care approach. Providing soft tissue therapy, therapeutic exercise, and chiropractic care, The Essential Project makes quality care accessible.

Through her work with the Northwest SBDC, Dr. Hansen completed her business plan and funding projections, and devised marketing which targeted employers in the region in order to bring healthcare services to essential employees on-site; the very people for whom the business is named. She’s an ardent supporter of the five-year Demystifying Entrepreneurship Rural Colorado Workshop Series facilitated by Northwest SBDC in partnership with CU Boulder and the Leeds School of Business, attending three years in a row.

Beginning with pop-up clinics early on, the Essential Project always had the goal of creating a mobile clinic van and it was finally achieved in 2023. Dr. Hansen’s new goal is to further spread this kind of health equity by opening chapters nationwide. The Northwest SBDC will continue to be there offering support and resources.

Anna Sladek
From Lakes to Mountains

Lake and Company is a socially conscious magazine, carefully curated with a give-back message that supports adventure, innovation, conservation, and community built around lake culture. It has multiple complementary brick-and-mortar retail locations in Colorado and Minnesota selling outdoor clothing and gear. Northwest SBDC was able to help two clients through its work with the company.  Early in 2023, founder Megan Kellin decided it was time to pare down the physical locations and devote more time

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Muirgen Publishing, LLC

A lot has happened for Andrea Stein since she launched Muirgen Publishing, LLC, in 2014. Her first award-winning self-published novel came out February 10, 2015, with three more novels and a boxed set scheduled throughout the rest of the year. “Fortune’s Horizon” is currently available in both ebook and paperback formats from Amazon. New York Times bestselling author Cheryl Bolen said of Andrea’s first release: “This sparkling debut novel has it all: action, spies, the

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Amber Barbella
Diversion Designers

Diversion Designers, an environmental sustainability consultancy firm specializing in diverting solid waste from landfills, was founded in 2021 by Eagle County local Amber Barbella. The company implements sustainable waste systems for large public events as well as identifies and solves weaknesses within waste systems, saving businesses money while helping preserve the environment throughout the state of Colorado.  In only two years, over 150,000 pounds of recyclable and compost waste has been diverted from landfills, contamination

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North Line GIS

North Line GIS was founded in October 2006 by Mike George and Trip McLaughlin after seeing a need for a GIS business to service the needs of the local community as well as the western slope of Colorado. Both Mike and Trip were employed full-time by others at the time of the start-up, so they were able to start the company with personal funds while building the business. Although both founders have extensive experience as

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Gracie's Coffee Exterior Shot
Gracie’s Coffee

Gracie’s Coffee is a prime example of how Small Business Development Center services help entrepreneurs over the life of a business: from startup to exit.  In 2022, at only 19 years old, Gracie Rounds reached out to the Northwest SBDC for assistance with legally establishing a 72 square foot walk-up and drive-through coffee hut on a busy corner in the rural town of Gypsum.  After seven months of consulting and preparation, Gracie’s Coffee opened for

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Brandon Duarte
StealthHunter Gear

Like that of many others, Brandon Duarte’s energy career in the coal-transitioning rural community of Craig will be coming to an end within the next few years. For Brandon, developing StealthHunter Gear seemed the best way to begin a new phase without leaving the rural Colorado home he loves. With 17 years of experience as a hunting guide in Northwest Colorado, he developed two innovative hunting products and initially sought Northwest SBDC assistance in 2022

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