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Wyoming Technology Business Center Wins National Competition

November 8, 2013
Two men talking
Jon Benson, left, Wyoming Technology Business Center chief executive officer, meets with WTBC incubator client Crile Carvey, CEO of Otra Tech. The center recently won a national competition for institutions that are transforming their campuses into “engines of economic prosperity.” (UW Photo)

The Wyoming Technology Business Center (WTBC), located at the University of Wyoming, recently won a national competition for institutions that are transforming their campuses into “engines of economic prosperity.”

The University Economic Development Association (UEDA) recognized the WTBC for its “Business Incubation and Outreach Program.” The award was announced at the UEDA’s annual summit in Pittsburgh, Pa.

“The university is pleased to be recognized for its important effort to help people with great ideas build their businesses across Wyoming,” says Bill Gern, UW vice president for research and economic development.

UW was among five universities to receive the 2013 Awards of Excellence from the UEDA. Other award winners were from the University of Northern Iowa; a joint project between North Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina; Lehigh University; and Washington State University.

University representatives submitted proposals before the national meeting for consideration by a panel. The top submissions were named semifinalists and invited to Pittsburgh to present papers.

“Each of the semifinalists presented a paper and, at the end of the presentations, all the UEDA members in attendance voted on the best submittal,” says Jon Benson, WTBC chief executive officer. “This was recognition by our peers, which I think is the best kind.”

The WTBC is a business development program that focuses on assisting early-stage, high-growth companies. The business incubator provides space for client companies, access to shared services, and business and management advice for early-stage companies.

“We launched our 30,000-square-foot Laramie incubator in 2006 and, in August 2013, we added a new business incubator in Casper. Currently, we are working with the Gillette community as it considers the development of a third WTBC incubator,” Benson says.

In addition to the business incubators, the WTBC has created e2e Wyoming, an educational networking program that helps connect entrepreneurs with people interested in entrepreneurship to improve Wyoming’s climate for startups.  e2e Wyoming has chapters in Laramie, Casper, Gillette and Sheridan.

The WTBC has graduated five companies from its incubation program. These companies employ approximately 90 people, contribute more than $15 million in gross annual revenues to the state and local economies, and occupy 25,000 square feet of office space. Currently, 12 more startups in Laramie and five startups in Casper are building their businesses in the WTBC’s incubator settings.

“Through this work, the WTBC is creating a fertile business environment that will assist in the diversification of Wyoming’s economy,” Benson says. “It’s an exciting time for entrepreneurship in Wyoming and for our program.”

The UEDA is the cornerstone membership organization representing higher-education, private-sector and community economic development stakeholders. The organization works to expand economic opportunity in communities by leveraging research, community resources, campus planning, talent development and technology commercialization.

For more information, call the WTBC office at (307) 766-6395.

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