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The University of Wyoming offers an opportunity for entrepreneurs to turn their ideas into realities

University of Wyoming's Wyoming Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

The University of Wyoming’s (UW) Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (WyCEI) in conjunction with the Honors College is offering a three-week course beginning in May that gives students at UW or any of the state’s eight community colleges a chance to turn those ideas into realities. It includes opportunities for students in an array of academic disciplines, including entrepreneurs, artists, scientists, activists, and businesspeople.

“We're offering this for students in any major. We're trying to make this more interdisciplinary [and] we're trying to get the students who are interested or passionate [about] innovation,” said Dr. Penelope Shihab, director of the WyCEI. “This is a course targeting students who [have] big ideas, and they don't know where to start, or what resources we have, or they don't have the right connections. So, we will provide all of that in this course.”

Participants will be nominated by the presidents of each of these institutions. Selection is based on students’ interest in entrepreneurship and innovation. Approximately 20 students will be selected to take part. Course costs are covered for all participants and counts for three credit hours at UW.

The course begins on May 22 and goes through June 7. Inspired by Leadership Wyoming, it allows participants an immersive experience in meeting with successful entrepreneurs and business leaders throughout the state. On-site visits to various communities to gain hands-on experience and practical direction will take place, including in Laramie at UW’s Impact 307 incubator, in Riverton at Central Wyoming College, in Sheridan at Sheridan College, and in Casper at McGinley Innovations, a healthcare innovation company, and in Cheyenne at Laramie County Community College, among several others. Two sequential day trips are planned to Cheyenne during the program. Students will present their ideas to a panel of judges that are successful entrepreneurs, investors, and business leaders. Top teams will be awarded recognition and prizes for their efforts.

Besides connecting students to entrepreneurs throughout the state, the course also aims to create opportunities for networking and community impact as well as foster a statewide community of aspiring entrepreneurs and innovators in the Cowboy State.

Currently, organizations such as Innovate Wyoming, an economic diversification initiative, and Impact 307, a series of business incubators throughout the state, are striving to diversify the state’s economy, encourage and develop entrepreneurship, and keep innovation at the forefront of the state’s economic development efforts.

Hugh Cook is Wyoming Public Radio's Northeast Reporter, based in Gillette. A fourth-generation Northeast Wyoming native, Hugh joined Wyoming Public Media in October 2021 after studying and working abroad and in Washington, D.C. for the late Senator Mike Enzi.
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