Online resource: Multiple entities contribute to platform for business owners
Built with the needs of rural Wyomingites in mind, University of Wyoming (UW) Extension, in partnership with the Wyoming Community Navigator Program (WCNP), recently launched a new online resource hub for entrepreneurs across the state.
This program aims to provide resources for entrepreneurs looking to start businesses or expand their existing business ventures.
“UW Extension’s Rural Entrepreneurship Center is designed to provide technical education through an online format,” said Cindy Garretson-Weibel, coordinator for the UW Extension’s WCNP in a recent press release. “This format is designed to make information available to entrepreneurs when it is convenient for them.”
The program is funded by WCNP, which provides funding and resources to small businesses across the state. WCNP is funded by the Small Business Administration.
According to UW, the site features video-based content from UW Extension educators and specialists, focusing on three areas of emphasis – agricultural entrepreneurship, food entrepreneurship and youth entrepreneurship.
“Entrepreneurship and small businesses are really the backbone of Wyoming,” Garretson-Weibel says. “We want to do anything we can to make sure small businesses can remain profitable in the long run. Profitable small businesses make an overall stronger economy.”
The agricultural entrepreneurship section of the online hub will house a variety of topics with everything from how to raise specific animals, to how to market those animals for profit.
For those interested in food production, the hub will house guidance on topics such as cottage food laws in Wyoming, inspection, best practices and guidelines for in-home kitchens.
The youth entrepreneurship section will work directly with county 4-H educators and other youth organizations to build strong foundations of entrepreneurship to youth in the state.
Topics will include choosing a business structure, financing opportunities and getting started as a small producer.
“We are really hoping this program can reach people who may not be aware of all the opportunities 4-H has to offer to the students of Wyoming,” she says.
According to Garretson-Weibel, several training topics on agriculture entrepreneurship are already available online and youth content became available in mid-April. Food entrepreneurship topics are expected to follow shortly behind.
“Those interested in utilizing these resources should check back often because we will be adding new topics frequently,” she says. “There will be a form to fill out to sign up for notifications on new available resources.”
Described as spokes on a wheel, UW Extension is one of many partners of the Wyoming Community Navigator Program, which works towards the program’s ultimate goal of supporting entrepreneurship in Wyoming.
According to the website, “WCNP uses a hub-and-spoke model to pursue its goals, where the Wyoming Small Business Development Center acts as the central hub, coordinating efforts of the spokes to target outreach and services to business communities in need throughout the state.”
“The program mobilizes and leverages the Wyoming entrepreneurial support network to reduce barriers small businesses, including those owned by groups such as Veterans, women and those from rural communities and communities of color, often face in accessing capital and technical assistance,” the website continues.
UW Extension plays a unique role in this program as they act as a “virtual education center with content focused on big ideas, innovation and success stories for small businesses in Wyoming.”
UW Extension is able to help stakeholders access the support available to them through the WCNP.
“One of the many perks of this program is we have access to a variety of experts and their knowledge,” Garretson-Weibel says. “This diversity of knowledge makes the program stronger as a whole.”
Callie Hanson is a corresponding writer for the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to email@example.com.