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Published August 10, 2018
The Wyoming Technology Business Center (WTBC), a business development program of the University of Wyoming, kicked off its second annual Sheridan Area incubator Start-Up Challenge competition at its e2e Wyoming networking event last week.
The event, patterned after longer-running similar events at the WTBC Laramie and Casper incubator locations, hopes to build on the success of the inaugural challenge competition that took place in Sheridan last year.
According to WTBC Sheridan Director Scot Rendall, the first event was enthusiastically supported by the Sheridan community.
“We had a terrific number of applicants for the first challenge and a great turnout at the pitch event,” Rendall says. “Before our kickoff of the 2018 process, we had many inquiries about this year’s challenge, so we expect that a number of entrepreneurs with good business ideas will step forward.”
The Sheridan Start-Up Challenge is designed for anyone in Sheridan County who has recently started a business or is interested in launching one. Startup businesses can be a key cornerstone of an area’s economic development strategy, in addition to attracting new businesses and expanding existing businesses in Sheridan.
“In past experience with early-stage companies, we have found that lack of access to even small amounts of capital can be a significant barrier,” Rendall says. “Through the challenge, we would like to remove that barrier if there are promising business ideas that need a spark to catch on.”
Applicants will compete for $5,000 in seed fund awards that will go to challenge qualifiers, and participants will make appeals for additional funding as business plans develop. Finalists also will receive opportunities to set up their offices at the Sheridan incubator free of charge for one year and receive ongoing counseling.
Each finalist will receive counseling from WTBC staff on the business idea, formulation of a business plan and development of pitch content. The actual pitch competition is scheduled at the WYO Theater in Sheridan Thursday, Nov. 8.
Registrations are now being accepted through Sept. 14. There is no cost to enter. The application process is handled online, and WTBC staff will be available to answer questions and help entrepreneurs through the initial requirements. A local judging panel will review entries, and finalists will be selected by early October.
The WTBC is administered by the UW Office of Research and Economic Development. It is a not-for-profit business incubator system that provides startup and early-stage companies with the expertise, networks and tools necessary for the development of successful businesses.
For more information about the Sheridan Start-Up Challenge, call Rendall at (307) 675-1939 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.