UW’s Casper Start-Up challenge kicks off 3rd year

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The Wyoming Technology Business Center, a business development program of the University of Wyoming, will continue its Casper Start-Up Challenge for a third year competition. At stake? $50,000 fund to seed Casper entrepreneurial companies.

“We were thrilled with the results of our 2017 Challenge,” says Jerad Stack, director of the Casper Area WTBC. “The community buy-in was phenomenal last year. With nearly 40 applications submitted, it is clear that Casper has the ideas and the motivation to diversify the local economy if given the chance. We are confident that the 2018 Challenge will be even more successful.”

Administered by the UW Office of Research and Economic Development, the WTBC is a not-for-profit business incubator that provides entrepreneurs with the expertise, networks and other tools.

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The WTBC has business incubators in Laramie, Casper and Sheridan.

Like the 2017 challenge, the latest competition will have a $50,000 seed fund to help early-stage entrepreneurial companies launch. The Casper Area Economic Development Alliance (CAEDA)/Forward Casper is providing the seed funds.

“In our experience assisting startups in Wyoming, oftentimes the first barrier entrepreneurs have to cross is a small amount of money to get them going,” Stack says. “Most of the time, this is between $20,000 and $25,000.”

In addition to the seed funding, a select few companies will be chosen to receive office space in the Casper WTBC facility free of charge for one year.

New to this year’s challenge, the top five Start-Up Challenge finalists will receive a sponsored entry to the CAEDA Entrepreneur’s Boot Camp, scheduled for September. At the Boot Camp, entrepreneurs will be taken on a “holistic journey through conceptualization to materialization” of a business. Agenda topics include legal, financial, market development, competitive analysis, intellectual property and team development.

“We are excited to partner with CAEDA on this boot camp,” Stack says. “We see this as a great way for the finalists to kick off the development of their business before they begin their coaching and counseling with WTBC staff.”

An informational mixer for the Casper Start-Up Challenge will take place at Frontier Brewing Wednesday, August 22nd, at 5:30 pm.

Registration for the challenge opened August 3rd and closes September 7th.

Final pitches are scheduled for November 15th at The Lyric, located at 230 W. Yellowstone in Casper.

Sponsors for the Casper Start-Up Challenge are CAEDA/Forward Casper, the John P. Ellbogen Foundation, Oil City, and the Wyoming Industrial Development Corporation Frontier Certified Development Company.