Spotlight on Sovenco | A Social Venture Company


“How personal should I get?” asked Danielle Norris when we inquired as to the start of her socially conscious enterprise – Sovenco.

Norris calls herself an at-risk youth. At 16, she was assigned a case worker who was a beacon of light. Her name was Mary. When life for Norris seemed its bleakest, Mary spent 18 months guiding her out of that world and out of poverty. “She was everything to me,” says Norris.danielle

Danielle, Norris, Founder, Sovenco

Things changed when Danielle turned 18. Her program was shut down due to lack of funding and Mary lost her job. It was at that moment that Norris realized the injustice of the situation. Fourteen years later, one of her core values is making a difference, so that is what she sought out to do.

“With nonprofits, the biggest thing that doesn’t work is that they are not allowed to spend money on building the business. Too much time is spent fundraising instead of making an impact. Also, it’s an “us and them” model (for-profit businesses vs. nonprofits). It divides the class systems and creates inequality. There are two myths in business: that nonprofits can’t invest in overhead and that for-profits can only focus on bottom-line.”  – Danielle Norris, Sovenco

Now, Danielle runs the socially conscious consulting business, Sovenco. Business owners tend to reach out to her when they are wanting more out of their life and want to have a direct impact in the community. “We like to connect them to their purpose,” she says. “We take them through an 8-step process, which is a combination of life coaching and basic business consulting. We look at business in an holistic way and add a social enterprise twist.”

Case studies show a very direct impact on the community. One client, a social media marketing company came to Norris wanting to do good and enter the socially conscious industry. When they came to Sovenco, they weren’t making any impact. Now, they are looking at hiring underserved populations.

“We are very new in the industry. Our overall goal and big vision is to bring the concept of do good businesses to regular everyday small businesses. That every small business owner can make a small impact in the world. And it creates a more fulfilling life. In general, people have an innate need to serve others directly and it’s missing in our society,” says Norris.

And that’s where Sovenco comes in.

At Conscious Real Estate we love supporting socially conscious businesses. If you have an idea for a story on a business that is doing great things for our community, just reply here and drop us a note.

And, remember that Conscious Real Estate donates 10% of every commission to a nonprofit of our clients’ choice. Make a difference today! Referrals are the sweetest thank yous.


An Alphabetic Guide to Denver’s Best Coffee Shops

Traditional style coffee shop in central London

Boxcar Coffee Roasters:  With two locations (at Boulder gourmet shop Cured and The Source in Denver’s RiNo district), Boxcar richly deserves the strong buzz it generates for its roasting expertise and high-altitude brewing methods, showcased in every last espresso blend and single-origin coffee.  Also, The Source is freaking awesome.

3350 Brighton Blvd.; 1825 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-527-1300 

Crema Coffee House: This is a true coffee connoisseur’s cafe, using only the French Press or lever espresso machine, they see the brewing of the brown stuff as a craft and art form that deserves great appreciation.

2862 Larimer; 720-235-2995

Denver Bicycle Cafe: This coffee shop in uptown is a bike-repair shop, a coffeehouse, and a craft-beer bar – all the things Denverites cherish most under one roof, complete with a fierce commitment to local vendors.

1308 E. 17th Ave.; 720-446-8029

 Gypsy House Café: So authentically Mediterranean in its décor and atmosphere, guests will feel like they’ve walked out of Denver and into Istanbul. Enjoy a cup of Turkish coffee, take a pull from their hookahs, listen to music, or get your tarot cards read.

1279 Marion St.; 303-830-1112

Hooked On Colfax: This hipster hangout on Colfax, (imagine that…) pours hot, simple and delicious coffee and espressos, as well as offering free wi-fi and hosting monthly local art shows.

3213 E. Colfax Ave.; 303-398-2665

Pablo’s Coffee:  A pioneer in the local roasting movement, this Alamo Placita coffee shop has it all.  (Ok, actually, they don’t have wifi.)  Well-worn space bedecked with mini-chandeliers, check; messenger bag-toting regulars, check; house blends accompanied by the requisite pastries. If you buy their reusable cup, the drink is free with additional discounts on future drinks when you bring your cup.

630 E. Sixth Ave., 303-744-3323; 1300 Pennsylvania St. Ste. 102, 303-832-1688

St. Mark’s CoffeehouseOk, I’ll be honest.  This is not the best coffee in Denver… and the food isn’t that great… but the ambiance has kept me going back for over a decade.  It just has an unparalleled charm.  If you want a similar ambiance without the coffee, go next door to the Thin Man, a bar under the same ownership.

2019 E. 17th Ave; 303-322-8384

Wash Perk: Tucked into the historic Wash Park neighborhood three blocks west of the park, this coffee shop boasts free wi-fi, lots of room for your laptop, a book and magazine library, and amazing pastries, both traditional and gluten-free.

853 E. Ohio Ave.; 720-542-9202

Redevelopments Coming to Denver’s Historic Five Points Neighborhood


I was wondering when Welton Street was going to see some action – the heart of the historic Five Points neighborhood is right next to downtown and is surrounded by historic Victorian homes!  But as of last year, the commercial spaces were largely vacant.

Attempting to lure new commercial and mixed-use residential development to the Welton Street corridor, last fall, Mayor Michael Hancock offered as much as $500,000 in grants to cover pre-development planning and design in the Welton Design/Development Challenge.  This project was intended to fund projects on Welton between 20th and 30th streets; each project could receive as much as $175,000 to cover expenses including architecture, engineering, financial planning, environmental review and market research.

Funded by federal Community Development Block Grants through Denver’s Office of Economic Development, the community-based selection committee chose to fund the top five.

The project winners are:

1) The Arcade & Rosenberg’s Bagels at 2714 Welton Street received $75,000.  The historic arcade building is to be transformed into a 2,400 sq. ft. space of retail featuring Rosenberg’s Bagels and Delicatessen, with equally sized residential space on the upper floor to provide 2-4 residential units.

2) nuROOT Innovative Office Space received $75,000 for 2942-2944 Welton Street.  This space is designed for emerging businesses and will feature 4,710 sq. ft. of office space, plus 2,310 sq. ft. for an eating and drinking establishment.

3) Palisade Partners at 2460 Welton Street received $100,000 to develop two adjacent vacant parcels at 25th and Welton into 82 apartments, 14 townhomes, and 3000+ sq. ft. of ground-floor retail.

4) The Rossonian Development was awarded $150,000 to renovate and restore the historic Rossonian hotel into 64 residential units, office space, shopping, dining, and venue options.

5) Saint Bernard Properties received $75,000 to develop the vacant lot at 2950 Welton Street into a three-story, mixed-use building including four apartment units.

Energy Loans for Your Denver Business Offered Through Certifiably Green Denver


Through Certifiably Green Denver, the City and County of Denver offers low-cost financing for Denver businesses who wish to implement energy-efficient upgrades.  If you’re planning to implement energy projects, but lack the upfront capital, a Sustainability Adviser through Certifiably Green Denver can help you determine if a low-cost energy loan through the program is right for you.  Over 40 measures have been approved with interest rates as low as 3.75%.

Business energy loans can be used for variety of upgrades, including:

-Lighting Upgrades

-Energy Audit ASHRAE Level 2 or 3

-Energy Management

-Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)

-Office Equipment

-Laundry Equipment

-Motors and Drives

-Refrigeration, Food Service, and Grocery

-Walls and Roofing

-Water Heaters

-Renewable Energy (Solar)

To see if this loan is right for your business, contact a sustainability advisor.