University Public Relations
1000 E University Ave
Dept. 3226, Bureau of Mines
Laramie, WY 82071
Phone: (307) 766-2379
Fax: (307) 766-6729
The Wyoming Technology Business Center has bolstered the state's economy, helping more than 10 budding ideas blossom into full-blown businesses across the state and beyond.
Part strategy consultant, part mental therapist and all business, the University of Wyoming's statewide business development program, has assisted four visionary startups -- all with offices in Laramie -- with turning their dreams into part of Wyoming economic reality during the past six years. In all, these four businesses employ approximately 65 persons with gross annual revenues of $10 million contributing to the state and local economy.
And eight more start-ups are now building their businesses in the incubator setting located at 1938 Harney St. in Laramie.
The WTBC offers a technology business incubator and an outreach program focused on early-stage, high-growth companies. The 30,000-square-foot facility, which opened in 2006, offers laboratory, office and shared-conference room space for client companies as well as a state-of-the-art data center.
All client companies -- which are required to be based in Wyoming -- located in the incubator have access to one-on-one business counseling and executive coaching services provided by WTBC staff. The program is designed to help client companies grow larger and faster than they would otherwise, and to increase the ability of the entrepreneurs to manage and grow their own businesses.
Business assistance focuses on sales and marketing, organizational structure, financial and information systems, and ongoing strategic planning.
In creating a business, you're "typically solving another business's problems," says Jonathon Benson, CEO of the WTBC. " ... The better you are at solving a problem, the faster they will buy and the better you are at growing your business."
Often, entrepreneurs start out thinking they have to do everything themselves. They have the mindset that if they work hard, their businesses will succeed. But the WTBC provides consulting that makes budding business persons realize they can only thrive if they hire the right people.
When entrepreneurs start thinking like that, that's when the incubator process moves from a mere idea to reality, Benson says.
"If you can get them to do that, then it's magic," he says.
That model can often go beyond the business side of the entrepreneurial process, says Christine Langley, COO of the WTBC.
"We also deal with the emotional side. They're in crisis mode for three years," she says of incubator clients trying to get their businesses off the ground. "They need somewhere to vent. They need someone to talk to. They often have fears, like ‘I don't know if we're going to make payroll.'"
Weston Welch, CEO of Pronghorn Technologies LLC, an incubator client since 2008, appreciates having that concerned ear on which to lean. Pronghorn currently is demonstrating its technology to various factions of the United States military. The company's total residual oxidant (TRO) sensor is designed for use with advanced shipboard desalination systems, such as those found on Navy ships. Desalination is the process of removing salt and other minerals from saline water.
"When times are tough, it's very nice to have someone to talk to; to have someone to let you know what you're doing is a good idea; and that it's worth going through this," Welch says.