WYOMING – Just about everything is done differently in Wyoming. In fact, that’s probably why many of us live here. We’re a state big on open space and low on population. That can be challenging, especially for older higher education models, for instance, that are built “one size fits all.”
The face of higher education is changing dramatically and so is the nation’s economy. With this in mind, communities everywhere are searching for ways to make an impact locally.
In the low-population state of Wyoming, the challenge of launching and scaling a business in today’s economy is often more difficult because of a variety of challenges including education, workforce, and access to capital.
“We looked at what was happening in other places and we just didn’t think it would work here,” explained Pitchengine founder and CEO Jason Kintzler.
Pitchengine has been brewing up ideas for the way forward for a few years. So, when CWC President Brad Tyndall asked how the two entities could do something together to help entrepreneurs, Pitchengine was quick to jump in.
“As a community college, we’ve got to inject more practical business practices into all areas of study and workforce training. We’ve got to make entrepreneurship more of a fundamental part of everything we’re about at CWC. It’s a good strategy for our students and businesses looking for ways to stay and thrive in Wyoming,” said Tyndall.
The Bootstrap Collaborative will provide students, entrepreneurs and existing businesses with mentorship relating to modern financial, legal, business, branding and marketing practices.
“We’re not talking about teaching traditional business curriculum like a college or university would. We’re looking to give people a ‘real world’ jumpstart and equip them with the skills they need to get going,” said Pitchengine COO, Fabian Lobera.
In addition to mentorship programs and a business intensive focus at CWC, The Bootstrap Collaborative will develop a maker space, co-working and training facility where they can host networking events, conferences and other business-related activities.
“Not only does this bring together several CWC initiatives, through collaboration between public and private entities, we can provide more relevant skills and training in addition to statewide networking and access to capital,” he said.
“Wyoming, and Fremont County specifically, isn’t the kind of place you can just throw up an “incubator” or a co-working space and see something transpire,” he said, “Here, it’s going to take hands-on mentorship and connections with actual entrepreneurs in similar fields of business.”
From the State of Wyoming perspective, The Bootstrap Collaborative is just what leaders are looking for.
“As an investor and member of the ENDOW Executive Council, I applaud Central Wyoming College and Pitchengine for driving Wyoming entrepreneurship forward with this exciting public-private collaboration,” said Breakthrough 307 Founder and ENDOW Executive Council Member Jerad Stack.
“The advancement of a culture of innovation and a vibrant startup ecosystem are key landmarks on the ENDOW road map. The Bootstrap Collective addresses many ENDOW priorities, including a commitment to mentorship, workforce training, and public-private collaboration. I look forward to seeing the talent and creative companies that spring from this new program,” explained Stack.
*Buckrail was a division of Pitchengine until December 2017 when it sold to owners of Jackson-based TMBR.