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WTBC to Introduce Fisher Innovation Challenge to Aid Startup Companies

March 9, 2016
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UW’s Wyoming Technology Business Center has created the Fisher Innovation Challenge to provide Wyoming technology startup companies the opportunity to apply for seed money to take the business past the concept stage and into the real world.

The Wyoming Technology Business Center (WTBC) has created a new opportunity for budding entrepreneurs to move their promising technology ideas into full-fledged businesses.

The University of Wyoming’s WTBC has created the Fisher Innovation Challenge (FIC), a new competition launching this spring. It is supported through a financial gift from Donne Fisher and matched by UW’s Office of Research and Economic Development.

“The FIC seeks to energize Wyoming technology startup businesses and provide the opportunity to apply for seed money to take the business past concept stage and into real-world first article builds and initial sales,” says Mandy Moore, assistant director of the Laramie WTBC. “The competition will identify finalists who will be eligible to apply for $100,000 in seed funding.”

A Student to Startup event is scheduled Tuesday, March 29, from 5-6:30 p.m. in Room 1045 in the Engineering Building. Students from all colleges at UW are welcome to apply at competitions/index_fisher.html. Deadline for entries is April 15. Finalists will be announced April 29.

The FIC is for new, independent businesses in the seed, startup or early growth stages that are focused on technology and/or innovation. The following are generally excluded from eligibility: buy-outs, expansions of existing companies, real estate syndications, franchises, online retail, brick and mortar retail, licensing agreements for distribution in a different geographical area, and spin-outs from existing corporations.

Licensing technologies from UW labs is encouraged, assuming they have not been commercialized previously.

“We would anticipate having anywhere from four to six finalists. Of those finalists, those who are determined qualified would then be eligible to present a needs-based ask to the fund,” Moore explains. “Depending on the type of business, some might need more funding than others to get up and going, and the contest is designed to provide seed money to grow the business rather than just prize money. We anticipate there will be several awards made from the fund in the initial year. If any money is remaining in the fund, it will roll over to the competition the following year.”

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