IMPACT 307 has always had a philosophy to support and help start-up businesses grow throughout Wyoming. Over the years we found there was a need for a different program that spoke directly to an entrepreneurs’ competitive spirit. One that would not only provide our carefully tailored resources and mentorship but also the capital to launch their idea in a way not previously offered in our state. Thus, the IMPACT 307 Start-Up Challenge and Innovation Launchpad platforms were born.
In 2016, IMPACT 307, then operating as the WTBC, launched the first entrepreneur-focused competition, the Fisher Innovation Launchpad. Having seen tremendous success, we added the Casper Start-UP Challenge in late 2016, the Sheridan Start-Up Challenge in 2017, and most recently, introduced the Microbial Ecology Collaborative Start-Up Launchpad, the Southeast Wyoming Innovation Launchpad, and the Wind River Start-Up Challenge in 2019. While each challenge is unique, what they all have in common is their emphasis on fostering innovation, within a supportive, expertise-driven environment that allows entrepreneurs to thrive.
We understand that one of the greatest challenges when starting a business is the lack of knowledge and/or support when it comes to getting your idea to market and in the best position for growth. What makes the IMPACT 307 Start-Up Challenge model effective is that during the Challenge process, we work very closely with each finalist to develop a personalized plan that will lead them to success. Our approach is not only professional and supportive, it’s personal. We become invested in the success of the start-ups we work with, often acting as a pseudo COO. From our first meeting, to the final pitch night (and often beyond), IMPACT 307 staff help entrepreneurs every step of the way.
As the Start-Up Challenges and Launchpads have progressed, we have found an important component is offering dedicated start-up capital, or a seed fund, that allows entrepreneurs to take their ideas to the next level. Depending on the platform and year, winners can receive anywhere from $1,000-$40,000 to support their business idea. Another notable incentive for Wyoming entrepreneurs is that finalists can receive up to one free year in one of our Incubator locations, allowing our support to easily continue past pitch night.
IMPACT Laramie, IMPACT Sheridan, and IMPACT Casper each host a Start-Up Challenge and/or Launchpad annually, to foster a strong entrepreneurial community within their respective regions. Since launching, we have seen past finalists across the state continue to
grow, work closely with their communities, and contribute to job growth in their community. In fact, since 2018, more than 87 companies have been established through our Start-Up Challenge model!
2020 applications are currently being accepted for the Sheridan Start-Up Challenge (applications close September 22), the Wind River Start-Up Challenge (applications close October 12), the 2020 Fisher Innovation Launchpad (applications close on November 2), and the 2020 Southeast Wyoming Launchpad (applications close on November 2).
For applications, challenge-specific rules, participant information, and to learn more about past finalists, visit the Start-Up Challenges page on our website (under Programs). Stay tuned for updated information about the Casper Start-Up Challenge and the Microbial Ecology Collaborative Start-Up Launchpad in the coming months.
Think you’re up for the Challenge and are ready to make an impact with your business? Apply today!