CHEYENNE, WYOMING - Innovation and entrepreneurship are experiencing tremendous growth across southeast Wyoming, and Laramie County Community College is a vital part of these opportunities.
Nowhere is this more prevalent than with the Southeast Wyoming Innovation Launchpad, or SEWYIL. This regional startup challenge awards local entrepreneurs with startup capital to help them progress their venture. Ten sets of local entrepreneurs will present their homegrown businesses to a panel of experienced judges at the Historic Atlas Theatre on Jan. 31.
Of the ten finalists, three are students or alumni of LCCC. Those individuals and their projects are:
- Colby Irene, LCCC student: Precision Tensioning
- Judy Myers, LCCC student: Yellowstone Freelance
- Jeremy Arneson, LCCC alumnus: Wyoming Drone Imaging
"The impact of LCCC on SEWYIL across both Albany and Laramie counties is incredible, and we're highly thankful for their support through the use of their facilities, invaluable support and assistance from serial entrepreneur and instructor Minden Fox, and marketing assistance from the Albany County Campus," said Fred Schmechel, assistant director of University of Wyoming's business incubator, the Wyoming Technology Business Center. He is also a co-founder of SEWYIL.
The LCCC entrepreneurship program is designed to focus on small business creation and management for the student or existing business owners. Two of the LCCC finalists have completed that program.
"You don't have to be a business major to be successful," said Fox. She is an instructor in marketing/business at LCCC and leads the college's entrepreneurship program.
"LCCC has had a remarkable impact on many of the organizers and supporters of SEWYIL through our own higher education experiences. But where LCCC is already setting the standard for community college involvement in diversifying Wyoming's economy is in giving their students the knowledge and encouragement needed to start their own efforts," Schmechel added.
All of the finalists have participated in extensive additional work to support their endeavors, including sessions at LCCC with experts in such fields as marketing, legal, accounting, and more.
The judges will announce the winners and award prize money at the event on the 31st.
According to the Launchpad's project materials, the project intends to catalyze innovative Wyoming startup businesses and provide the opportunity to apply for seed money to take the business past concept stage and into real-world first article builds and initial sales.
This regional startup challenge is supported by numerous community partners including the University of Wyoming, Forward Greater Cheyenne, Laramie County Community College, Laramie Chamber Business Alliance, and Wyoming Business Council.