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Boulder Acupuncture and Herbs

Boulder Acupuncture and Herbs is a small business that is founded, run and owned by Norah Charles, an acupuncturist and Chinese herbalist. What makes Boulder Acupuncture and Herbs unique is that Norah works primarily with patients over 70 years old. Norah treats senior clients with a host of difficulties, including chronic pain, depression, and isolation. In addition to her acupuncture, Norah uses over 300 Chinese herbs for distinct wellness purposes.

Starting a business is not often easy, and it certainly was not for Norah. “I started up with virtually no money, which was really challenging,” said Norah. “I had to do everything on a shoestring and that meant that I had to learn to do everything by myself. That was initially the hardest part.”

Norah first reached out to the Boulder Small Business Development Center in May of 2015. She has since worked with consultants at the SBDC in regards to her budding business, specifically marketing.

“Before I even started my practice I went in to the SBDC and did some one-on-one consulting, which was great. We talked about basic finance, like recurring costs versus one-time costs, and all these things that I had never thought of. It helped me feel like I had the intelligence to run a business. I knew I had skills as an acupuncturist, but no business skills. The SBDC consulting team really showed me that I could do it.”

Even with some consultation, establishing yourself as a prominent and profitable business is a tough task, especially in the first couple of years. According to Norah, “When I eventually went into practice, the first year was very hard, but the first six months were particularly brutal. Sometime over that time period, [an SBDC staff member] called me and asked how I was doing. At the time I was really not doing well. I wasn’t going to fold my business, but I was worried I was going to run out of money.”

Norah continued, “But when he called out of the blue to just say, ‘hey, how are you, we’re here for you, and if you ever feel like you’re going to shut down your doors, please come talk to me before you do that,’ it was so powerful for me. When you’re a solo entrepreneur, you feel pretty alone so to have that lifeline, and to know that if I needed to shut my business I could call [and the SBDC] would find a way to help me, it was a big deal.”

Norah now has a multitude of clients, and her business is growing. She is also a volunteer acupuncturist with the Colorado Acupuncture Medical Reserve Corps, offering acupuncture on-site to first responders and community members affected by natural disasters or catastrophic events. She continues to be ambitious and has serious aspirations to expand her practice and impact on the community.

“I have a pretty big vision for my business. For the business itself, I hope that it thrives and continues to serve seniors in Boulder, but my real larger vision for what I’m doing is that, in my profession, there is not a lot of specialization, and specifically there are very few people who focus their practices on seniors. I feel like this is an underserved population that can benefit from what I do. My plan is to get the skills I need, and then help train other acupuncturists to work in eldercare.”

Norah’s focus and dedication coupled with her ambition and readiness to reach out to the Boulder SBDC has enabled her successful business.

InDevR

InDevR is a small, privately held biotechnology company in Boulder, CO. Founded in 2003, by Dr. Kathy Rowlen, Dr. John Birks and Dr. Laura Kuck, InDevR employs a highly motivated team of individuals dedicated to the development and commercialization of innovative technologies that will help fill gaps in the current paradigm for virus-related diagnostics. InDevR develops advanced life science instrumentation and assays for analysis of viruses and other microorganisms. Their goal is to revolutionize microbiological

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Brewmented

We brew what we teach and we teach what we brew — and we’re gonna have fun. — Bill Campbell, Brewmented Oftentimes, a good business opportunity can be found by looking at an established industry in new and unique ways. For Bill Campbell and partner, Vlad Aleksiev, Brewmented was a solution to converting craft beer drinkers and wine/mead/cider affectionados to home brewers and winemakers. A home brewer since the 1970’s, Bill Campbell has watched the

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Ku Cha House of Tea

Originally from China, husband and wife entrepreneurial team, Qin Liu and Rong Pan graduated from the Leeds School of Business at Colorado University with the dream of starting their own company. The original business idea was from Qin’s Business Plan Preparation class while enrolled in CU. In 2005, they launched their business, drawing upon the 5000-year-old tradition of drinking tea. In 2007, Qin and Rong changed the company’s original name from “The Leaf – All

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Flight Deck Grill

One day, after leaving her full time job, Diann and her husband were at the Vance Brand airport in Longmont for flight class. She really just wanted to sit down at the end of the day and have some good food and cold drink. She realized that the Vance Brand Airport in Longmont, CO had a lot to offer except a restaurant. That desire and realization was the birth of The Flight Deck Grill. Over

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Plains To Peaks Chocolate

Plains to Peak Chocolate Company is run by Sunni Sylvester and her husband Jeff. The two did not always have aspirations to make their own chocolate, but like many businesses today, a simple passion and idea can be all it takes to start something great. The direction of your business career can be random, and that is exactly what happened with Sunni and Jeff. “We started randomly. I would buy chocolate, look at the ingredients,

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Altitude Spirits

In 2004, Matthew Baris and his father conceived of an idea: to start an organic distillery here in Colorado. Colorado is renowned for its variety of large and small local breweries, so they knew they would see some success with a unique idea like theirs. However, neither family member came from an extensive background in business, so they looked to the Boulder Small Business Development Center to help get their idea off the ground. Matt

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