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UW Brings Record of Success to Sheridan Business Incubator

November 5, 2014

Sheridan County and the University of Wyoming have signed an agreement for UW’s Wyoming Technology Business Center (WTBC) to operate Sheridan’s business incubator.

In 2010, Sheridan County was awarded a Wyoming Business Council grant to purchase property for a business incubator. Forward Sheridan, an economic development non-profit organization, partnered with the county to start up the business incubator.

The Sheridan Business Incubator will become a branch of the WTBC -- a business development program launched at UW in 2006 that focuses on assisting early-stage, high-growth companies. The Sheridan incubator will join similar facilities in Laramie and Casper to become the third incubator managed by the WTBC statewide.

“Sheridan County is grateful to Forward Sheridan for getting the incubator started several years ago. Forward Sheridan has managed the incubator through its startup, and now it's time to move the incubator to a higher level of service,” says county commissioner Steve Maier. “WTBC will bring that level of service to the entrepreneurs of Sheridan County. The county also welcomes the support of the city and its commitment to business development.”

Sheridan County has partnered with the city of Sheridan to bring the WTBC to the community.

“The city of Sheridan is excited about partnering with the county and UW on this project,” says Mayor John Heath. “Under the excellent tutelage of the WTBC, the incubator will be at the ready to help new businesses start and also to reinforce Sheridan’s business-friendly environment.”

The agreement identifies the WTBC as the manager of the Sheridan incubator, allowing the WTBC staff to operate the incubator while a final lease agreement is negotiated.

“Sheridan is an exciting entrepreneurial community with a lot of potential for high-growth companies,” says Jonathon Benson, Wyoming Technology Business Center CEO. “We are pleased to launch WTBC-Sheridan Area and join the existing economic development efforts in Sheridan County.”

UW will have a two-person staff at the incubator. John Dick, a longtime employee of the WTBC and current assistant director, will move to Sheridan in January to manage the WTBC-Sheridan Area, says Benson, who plans to continue making regular visits to Sheridan. The equivalent of a full-time receptionist position, which will likely be filled by Sheridan College students, will complete the initial staff.

“The university is pleased to become a partner in this important effort to help people with great ideas build their businesses in Sheridan,” says Bill Gern, UW vice president for research and economic development. “This is another example of our commitment to help new and existing businesses all across Wyoming, part of the university’s role as a leader in building the future for the state and the larger world.”

The WTBC helps 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 through one-on-one business counseling and executive coaching services. It now has 20 client companies in its Laramie and Casper incubators, including firms in biotechnology, software development, hardware development and professional services.

The WTBC has had five clients graduate from the incubator program. All graduating companies have multi-million dollar annual revenues and collectively employ more than 135 people and lease more than 21,000 square feet of office space in their respective communities.

In addition, AutoDesk, Inc. a fortune 350 company, recently acquired one of the WTBC’s graduates for between $10 million and $40 million, and it remains in Laramie -- which is a terrific and credible form of business attraction, Benson says.

For more information, contact Renee’ Obermueller with Sheridan County at (307) 675-2910 or email robermueller@sheridancounty.com; or Benson at (307) 766-6395 or email jbenson@uwyo.edu.


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Chad Baldwin

Institutional Communications

Bureau of Mines Building, Room 137

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307) 766-2929

Email: cbaldwin@uwyo.edu

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