UW receives grant to increase success of Wyoming entrepreneurs

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LARAMIE, Wyo - The Wyoming Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Network will continue to provide high-caliber assistance to technology startups, entrepreneurs and small businesses, thanks to a $125,000 grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The Wyoming SBDC Network is one of 24 recipients of this year’s Federal and State Technology (FAST) Grant. The money will be used to increase awareness, participation and success of Wyoming entrepreneurs in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs -- which offer up to $2.5 billion annually in early-stage seed capital.

The SBDC is a partnership among the University of Wyoming, the Wyoming Business Council and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The SBDC focuses on educating small-business owners and potential owners on how to successfully start and operate small businesses. The SBDC’s main office is located at UW.

“SBA is thrilled to work with these organizations to increase the understanding of the SBIR/STTR programs,” says SBA Administrator Linda McMahon. “FAST partners are an important part of the innovation entrepreneur ecosystem.”

Each state is only allowed to submit one proposal for the FAST Grant, and Gov. Matt Mead endorsed the Wyoming SBDC Network’s application. This is the seventh time the organization has been awarded this highly competitive grant.

“These funds will have an immense impact on Wyoming’s technology startup and innovation sectors,” says Jill Kline, state director for the Wyoming SBDC Network. “In the coming year, we will be able to better collaborate with the University of Wyoming’s Technology Transfer and Research Products Center to help identify additional patent and commercialization opportunities for the many cutting-edge innovations that are developed right here in Wyoming. Both entrepreneurship and technology innovation are vital parts of the state’s efforts to diversify our economy, and this grant will go a long way in helping to achieve that goal.”

Last year, the Wyoming SBDC Network helped secure more than $2.5 million in grants and provided $130,000 in contracts for Wyoming businesses to research and market their ideas and products.

The Wyoming SBDC Network offers no-cost advice and technical assistance to entrepreneurs and small-business owners in every industry who are looking to start, grow or even sell their businesses. As a technology-accredited small business development center, the Wyoming SBDC Network provides support for developing and commercializing high-risk, disruptive technologies through its Wyoming SBIR/STTR Initiative (WSSI). The WSSI provides entrepreneurs with startup funding for their innovations, as well as assistance in applying for up to $1.23 million in SBIR/STTR grants.

The Wyoming SBDC Network is a business-advising group of the Wyoming SBDC, the Procurement Technical Assistance Center, Market Research Center and SBIR/STTR Initiative. The network’s mission is to help Wyoming entrepreneurs succeed. Advising and most market research activities are free of charge to Wyoming residents.

The SBDC is funded, in part, through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. SBA. Additional support is provided by the Wyoming Business Council and UW.