The Wyoming Technology Business Center (WTBC) in Sheridan, a business and economic development program of the University of Wyoming and a partner with the Wyoming Business Council, just launched its third-annual Sheridan Start-Up Challenge. This event seeks to encourage new business formation and growth by offering applicants an opportunity for counseling, advice and a chance to compete for seed capital funding. It is designed for anyone who has recently started a business or is interested in launching one.
Applications will be accepted through Sept. 13. 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, semi-finalists will make brief presentations and finalists will be selected by late September.
According to WTBC Sheridan Director, Scot Rendall, the Challenge, although relatively new to Sheridan, has been enthusiastically supported by the community.
"In its two-year existence, the Sheridan Start-Up Challenge has had more than 100 applications submitted, which indicates solid interest in the idea of starting new businesses," he said. "And the nice thing is, whether entrants progress in the competition or not, they receive access to great resources and expertise to aid development of their ideas."
Business-plan pitch competitions such as the Start-Up Challenge are increasingly popular across Wyoming. In addition to Sheridan, similar events are being held this fall in Jackson, Laramie and Casper. And in the spring of 2020, Cheyenne/southeast Wyoming and the Cody/Powell area are slated to host competitions.
"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," said Rendall. "Through the Challenge, we’d like to remove that barrier if there are promising business ideas that need a spark to catch on."
In addition to seed funding, winners will be offered one year of rent-free office space in the Sheridan incubator facility.
Each finalist will receive counseling from WTBC staff on their business idea, formulation of a business plan and development of their pitch content. The actual pitch competition will be held at the WYO Theater in Sheridan on Tuesday, Oct. 29.
The WTBC is administered by the UW Office of Research and Economic Development. It is a not-for-profit business incubator system funded by the Wyoming Business Council that provides start-up and early-stage companies with the expertise, networks and tools necessary for the development of successful businesses.
For more information, please contact Scot Rendall at (307) 675-1939 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.