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Success Stories

Community supports emerging leader on pathway to success

Dr. Rosenna Bakari is a published author, speaker, consultant and UCCS visiting assistant professor dedicated to helping others find and develop resilience. She is a respected community leader who credits much of her success to the El Pomar Emerging Leaders Development Program, a pathway to leadership and civic engagement.


New to the Pikes Peak region in August 2017, Bakari was challenged to establish a network and find community that would support her career change. She had a vision for her future, but it was blurry.

A survivor of childhood trauma, Bakari was on a mission to raise awareness and support for others. Her challenge was to transform her nonprofit work into a sustainable business model.

Her new vision required strong business skills. El Pomar’s ELDP connected her with experts at the Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center where she completed the Leading Edge™ program for entrepreneurs developing new business models.

“Talking through challenges and having experts fill in the gaps was critical,” said Bakari. “I needed smart networking to meet the right community leaders who could put me before key audiences.”

With her business plan in sharp focus and a supportive network behind her, she published five books, was named a Woman of Influence by the Colorado Springs Business Journal and has performed transformational poetry at major Colorado Springs events.

She recently served as a diversity consultant to the Head Start program, sits on local boards, and her demand as an inspirational speaker is constantly growing.

“The experiences gained through ELDP have empowered me to represent the Colorado Springs community – a woman, a survivor, a minority business owner – everyone needs a voice at the table. No one can do everything, but when the community invites you to step forward and serve, you do it. Where we can, we must each find and share the light.”

“Dr. Bakari inspires others to step forward and understand the importance of leadership,” said Theo Gregory, El Pomar Foundation Senior Vice President and outreach programs director. “She is a great example of what is possible when training, network and empowerment come together. It was a pathway to everything she hoped to achieve.” Learn more at: elpomar.org.

Jewell PR

Resilience In Small Business: SBDC Helps Creative & Veteran Entrepreneur Vernon Jewell by Dean J. Miller Vernon Jewell’s path to business success as a creative in Colorado Springs is as much a story of grit and self-motivation, as it is a powerful story of resilience in reaching for the American dream. The youngest of two brothers and four sisters, Vernon gained interest in the arts in his youth by drawing his own comic book heroes

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Venture Surplus

Jeffry Radspinner opened Venture Surplus on January 1, 2015. It is an online Army surplus store that provides government issue uniforms and mil-spec gear for soldiers, veterans, hobbyists, and preppers. Venture Surplus is customer centric, a major differentiator from competitors. Venture Surplus offers a satisfaction guarantee and free returns on all products. Furthermore, while most surplus stores sell general military surplus, Venture Surplus specializes specifically in army surplus and carries one of the largest sections

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Red Leg Brewing Company: PPP assures staff salary, benefits safe

“The service delivered by our tap room staff is the cornerstone of what we built our brand on. We probably have the most well-known beer tenders in town; the staff deserves all the credit for the success of our brand,” said Red Leg Brewing Company owner Todd Baldwin. And it’s a brand with great success: in December, Red Leg celebrated ground breaking of a new brewing facility, tap room and outdoor venue. The event included

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Once Upon a Time and Clothes Mentor

Porscha and Steve Shideler were amazed at the quality of products they could find used at garage sales and on Craigslist… for the fraction of the price than buying them new in department stores. They knew the community could use a store that could be shopped for a large variety of gently used kid’s items, in one location. Porscha who was in management and pregnant with their first child, before deciding to open a store,

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Coquette’s Bistro and Bakery

From the time Turu Marx was a young girl, her mother, Michelle Marx and she always talked owning their own restaurant and running it together. Today, their dreams have become a reality as they now own and operate Coquette Creperie in Manitou Springs. It has just won two honors from The Best Of The Springs 2010 from the Gazette; Best New Restaurant (silver) and Best Crepe! They both had restaurant experience behind them in Los

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