Wyoming Business Tips for May 8-May 14
A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (WSBDC), part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.
By Diane Wolverton, Wyoming Entrepreneur SBDC state director
"I attended Sen. Enzi's inventor's conference a few weeks ago in Torrington and it got me all excited about taking my invention to the next level. I would like to keep my excitement going by networking with other inventors. Do you have any ideas for making connections?" Alexander, Cheyenne
That's a great question because networking with other inventors enables you to share experiences and learn from people who have already found solutions to questions and problems that you haven't yet encountered.
Start with the Rocky Mountain Inventor's Association (RMIA). This organization is devoted to offering information, education, resources and networking that support in the commercialization of a product. They hold regular meetings in the Colorado Front Range, so you might want to make the trip some Thursday evening to meet folks. You can also join online at http://www.rminventor.org/.
Cost is $125 to join (family membership) this nonprofit organization. RMIA is listed as one of the "Good Guys" on the Inventor Fraud website (www.inventorfraud.com), which is another resource with links to several inventor organizations, invention shows, products and software for inventors, patent information and more.
If you want to network with Wyoming entrepreneurs and inventors, consider joining the Wyoming Entrepreneur social networking site on Ning. This is a place to introduce yourself and your business, post comments and questions, join groups and find like-minded folks.
As you develop your product idea you might want to get professional, third-party evaluations. The Wyoming Entrepreneur SBDC is collaborating with Wisconsin Innovation Service Center (WISC) to bring third-party evaluations to Wyoming firms. These evaluations include technical feasibility, competition review, user need estimates, trends and recommended next steps.
WISC charges $895 per assessment, however, your product may qualify to receive a low or no cost assessment through the Wyoming SBDC. Contact a local SBDC center for details, or call (307) 766-3505 or in Wyoming 1-800-348-5194.
Another resource that may help with product development process is the Wyoming SBIR/STTR Initiative (WSSI). This program can put you in touch with state and federal grant dollars for research. The Phase 0 portion of the program is state funded and provides up to $5,000 to support competitive proposals for federal grant dollars that are available in the Phase I program.
Contact Kelly Haigler Cornish at (307) 766-2904 for more information and ask for a free electronic newsletter for regular updates and coming opportunities.
A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments is available at http://www.wyomingentrepreneur.typepad.com/blog/.
The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.