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Published October 15, 2021
The University of Wyoming’s IMPACT 307 business incubator program, in coordination with Laramie County Community College (LCCC) and other local partners, launched the 2022 Southeast Wyoming Innovation Launchpad (SEWYIL), a regional startup challenge for residents in Albany and Laramie counties. The application period is open through midnight Monday, Nov. 15.
“The startup challenge model was created to give entrepreneurs the early funding needed to move their ideas forward,” says Fred Schmechel, interim director of IMPACT Laramie. “The goal of SEWYIL is to support the new business ideas coming out of southeast Wyoming and pave the way for more job creation and industry growth in this region.”
Participants will work alongside one another in preparation for the final Pitch Night event, set to be held in Cheyenne, where finalist teams will pitch their business concepts to a panel of judges. In the previous two years of the competition, 14 companies have been funded, creating approximately 25 jobs.
The funded companies must use the funds for actual startup costs, and the awards will vary for each company, which have historically been between $1,000 and $20,000.
Designed after similar efforts in Wyoming, SEWYIL connects entrepreneurs with business advisers and offers support in preparing for the final Pitch Night event. Participants will attend exclusive business seminars and network with startup founders and mentors, in addition to receiving practical business advising through IMPACT 307’s incubator program.
“We take all of our entrepreneurs through a process called Lean Launchpad, which starts with identifying and exploring a problem that people are experiencing,” says Minden Fox, an LCCC marketing and business instructor. “This approach is great for those who are just getting started because it’s flexible; pivoting your idea to fit best in the marketplace is something you want to do early on.”
“Our starting place is actually a very low bar,” Schmechel adds. “If you are thinking about applying, we encourage you to reach out and set up an introductory meeting with our IMPACT staff. Usually, the teams that connect with us early on have better success during the final Pitch Night event.”
The competition is made possible through local partnerships, including LCCC, Forward Greater Cheyenne and other local organizations working to strengthen the regional economy.
For more information, call Schmechel at (307) 766-6399 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.