Think of a business incubator as 21st-century business coaches.
Opened in 2012 on the site of the former Amoco Casper refinery, the Wyoming Technology Business Center in Casper is one of three in the state, the other two being in Laramie and Sheridan. The incubator program is operated by the University of Wyoming.
“The goal here is really to help start up business in Casper from ideation to launch to growth,” Jered Stack, director of the Wyoming Technology Business Center.
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“Often times people come to us literally with an idea on a napkin or whiteboard,” said Stack. “If it’s the right business, we bring them in.”
The incubator staff helps the fledgling businesses by giving them office and work facilities, as well as access to labs, mentors, community business people such as accountants and lawyers, according to Stack. They also get business mentoring along the way.
Businesses generally stay around a few years, with a goal to be out and sustainable within 2-5 years.
“These incubators in Wyoming are a little unique because we take companies that are in early stage form, as opposed to Silicon Valley where a business might have half a million dollars,” said associate director John Glassburn.
“Statistically, companies succeed at a higher rate when they use our facilities,” said Stack.
The WTBC is in the process of their third annual Casper Start-Up Challenge, of which Oil City News is a sponsor. The three finalists get a free year in the incubator, along with the helpful services available in the building.
The variety of ideas and creativity is one thing that thrills Stack. “One minute you’re talking to a guy who’s flying drones, next minute is a guy making video games,” said Stack.
Candidates can read about and enter the Casper Start-Up Challenge by clicking here.