The University of Wyoming’s business incubator, the Wyoming Technology Business Center (WTBC), recently announced that the center’s startup challenge programs will continue, but with some changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

WTBC Laramie Director Dave Bohling says the immediate concern was with the Microbial Ecology Collaborative Startup Launchpad, which had a pitch day scheduled Thursday, March 26.

“That event is still going forward but will be entirely online. We’re practicing with our presenters and have our judges on board,” Bohling says.

“Our plan for the Wind River Startup Challenge is going to take some more thought and input from our local partners at Central Wyoming College and with the Small Business Development Center before we have a solid plan for how we handle that event,”

WTBC Laramie Assistant Director Fred Schmechel say the UW student-oriented Fisher Innovation Launchpad sees the most substantial changes.

“Typically, our marketing for Fisher works best in face-to-face conversations with students, and that’s not an option given the circumstances. We’re going to push the Fisher’s marketing period back to this fall but keep the eligibility date open for students and graduate students who would have qualified this semester,” Schmechel says.

Patrick Kreiser, the program’s administrator and the college’s Rile Chair of Entrepreneurship, said he Ellbogen $50k Entrepreneurship Competition was slated to wrap up in early May.

“We’re waiting to see how the situation unfolds before we make any final decisions, and the WTBC’s startup challenges offer a test platform to see how we might go about doing this virtually,” Kreiser says.

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