Wednesday, September 2, 2009

2009 Idea Expo for Wyo. businesses

The 2009 Business-to-Business Idea Expo is set to take place Sept. 28-29 in Laramie.

What is the Idea Expo?

It's a conference designed to inspire innovation within Wyoming companies through the sharing of ideas and best business practices.

It will cover a wide array of business-related topics regarding finance, marketing, Web 2.0, people management, and entrepreneurship, among others. It gives Wyoming businesses an opportunity to network and learn, and to listen to acclaimed keynote speakers who will share interesting insights and experiences of their own.

For more information about this year's Idea Expo visit: www.wyomingideaexpo.com.

Click here to learn what others had to say about last year's event.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Ag-tivity

The Agribusiness Division hosted the 7th Annual Ag Diversification Tour yesterday to check out different ag operations and see how those producers are using innovative ideas and the resources they have to keep a steady income.

The tour started in Douglas, Wyo., at the Wyoming State Fair Grounds with these cinnamon rolls for breakfast. These babies (and they're about the size of a real baby) were amazing. Judy and her crew at the cafeteria there know what they're doing. Definitely worth a stop for folks during the fair which is Aug. 8-15.

The first stop was Lucile and Dennis Taylor's Boer goat ranch outside Douglas, Wyo. They raise the goats for meat, seedstock and 4-Hers.

Then it was back to the Fair Grounds for lunch with keynote speakers Terry Henderson of Cougar Valley Ranch and Ron Richner of Lone Tree Mini Bales and Drift Boats. Terry discussed her grass-fed beef marketing strategies and how 20 ag families have developed a wind energy project.
Ron talked about their hay operation, the two-pound bales they sell for pet food and decoration, and the drift boat business they operate on the North Platte River.

After lunch, it was back on the bus for a trip out to Deer Forks Guest Ranch. Pam Haar's daughter and son-in-law are building a house on the property made of straw. This is no Three Little Pigs story: The walls of the house will be made with 19-inch bales of straw that are then covered with stucco. When it's all said and done the walls will be about two-feet thick.

The Haars are also experimenting with tires to build structures on the property. These "bales" are made of 100 compressed tires and weigh about one ton. They're used to...

...build the walls for this barn. The "bales" are covered in a layer of cement and provide remarkable insulation. There was a dramatic difference in temperature from the outside to the inside of the barn. And it saves tires from landfills...

The Deer Forks guest ranch above is also diversifying their operation with a llama trekking program, and are raising miniature cattle, club lambs and pigs, and boer goats for a variety of uses.
There are a lot of creative ranchers and farmers out there. If you have an idea for your operation and need some help getting it off the ground, contact the Agribusiness Division at the WBC. They can walk you through some of the particulars in value-added marketing.
What the tour is all about:

video

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Video from the road

We will have a more lengthy post about today's adventures, but check out our first foray into YouTube...


Monday, June 1, 2009

WBC on the road - Day 1

Matt and I left bright and early this morning for our week-long trip around the state. Two interviews, three towns, and lots of miles later we have landed in Sundance, Wyo. for the night.

We've decided to work the blog this week by documenting each day from both of our perspectives.

We've also decided to have a little extra fun by seeing how well folks out there know the state. Each day we'll have a "Where in Wyoming is Matt and Kim" photo. Unfortunately, we can't give away any awesome prizes like a community development grant or something, but we're hoping to spur some conversation and show people some cool/interesting/off-the-beaten path stuff in Wyoming.

So...without further ado, today's "WWMK" photo is below. Do you know where we are?


Matt's Day
:
Today Kim and I hit the road bright and early and headed out for Day 1 of our seven-day trek around the state to secure photos and videos of folks who have used Business Council programs to help improve their businesses.

Our first stop was Ron Richner's outfit near Alcova, Wyo.

We pulled up to find Ron waiting for us on his porch ready to show us what his business is all about. Richner runs summer drift boat tours down the Platte River.

He invited us to take the three-mile jaunt down the river through a portion of his property, but our tight schedule required us to very reluctantly decline such a gracious offer.

After visiting with Ron for an hour or so, we tore down the gear and packed up for our drive to Glenrock to meet with the mayor and other city officials about how a BRC grant has literally transformed the landscape of Glenrock's downtown.

The Commerce Block Building - the historic building improved through BRC funding- is one of those iconic small-town, downtown structures that fell victim to time and neglect.

According to the mayor, the building sat empty and ugly for more than 30 years.
It was hard to believe considering how gorgeous and period correct the building is now.

It is pure how proud the residents of Glenrock are about their past, present and future, and the mayor made no bones about how valuable the Business Council has been as a partner in Glenrock's evolution.
I'm looking forward to tomorrow's leg of the trip...It's sure to be as fast and furious as Day 1.

Kim's Day:
Matt and I hit the road fairly early this morning with a loaded down Dodge Avenger (dubbed the U.S.S. Avenger early on because Matt kept replying to me with pirate-like responses), and loaded up on coffee from Little America resort.

Our agenda this week is driven primarily by requests from our Investment Ready Communities and Agribusiness divisions, with some catch-it-if-you-can requests from Wyoming Tourism, Wyoming Main Street, and the Business and Industries division.

As we drove, I realized it's a little overwhelming to be on the look out for photos and video that depict ag, tourism, entrepreneurship, and the quintessential where you want to "live, work and play," photos we all desperately need. I told Matt we should just take photos of everything and keep the video camera running!

That is indeed what we did at both of our stops today. Our first interview was with a rancher outside Alcova, Wyo., who will be featured in an upcoming Agtivities magazine and who is using the resources he has on hand to diversify his operation. He eagerly showed us the drift boats he rents to anglers on the North Platte - just a few hundred feet from his front door - and the contraption he put together to bale small bales of hay for crafters and small pet owners.

We then made our way to Glenrock (or, as Matt kept calling it, Newcastle or Castle Rock, which, um, is in a totally different state! He'll also be participating in the "where in Wyoming" we are photo contest...) for our next interview, which was after a very tasty lunch at the unexpectedly delightful Paisley Shawl, a place definitely worth getting off the interstate for!

We interviewed the mayor who gave us a personal tour of a couple WBC projects in town: the Community Block Building, an historic building they used some WBC grant money to help restore and turn into commercial rental space, and a rifle manufacturing business that will bring jobs to town.

What stood out about our interviews is how talkative these folks were and how eager to share their story, proud of the work done, and excited about their community they are. And for me personally, it's also nice to see the real effect of where our dollars go. It's one thing to write press releases about projects and grant funding, but quite another to see the work done and the impact it's had.

And this is only day one.





Friday, May 29, 2009

Kim and Matt's Excellent Adventure

Matt and I will be hitting the open trail bright and early Monday morning for a week-long trip through our great state.

Our mission: To gather video, photos, interviews, etc., on Business Council community development and business ready projects, and to get fodder for publications, ads and other PR needs the WBC may have.

Join us on the road as we blog, tweet, and YouTube about our adventures!

Check in daily on the blog, or follow us at:
Twitter at: http://twitter.com/wyobizcouncil
Facebook under: Wyoming Business Council
YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/wyobizcouncil

Happy trails!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Keeping Wyoming beautiful

We have to say: Wyoming is a darn beautiful state. But even those fortunate enough to be naturally gorgeous need a little help every now and then.

The Business Council and Wyo. Travel and Tourism spent some time last Friday walking our adopted two-mile strip of interstate picking up trash and debris to keep Wyoming the way Mother Nature made.
Part of the team at the beginning of the day...

Team members hard at work...

CEO Bob Jensen scours a drainage ditch for all traces of trash...


New employee Chava Case. We initiate all new employees this way...




A pleasant find amongst the muck...


Ag Division Director Cindy Weibel with another find: a basket for garden tools. Way to reduce, reuse and recycle!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Community Members Helping Community Members




Yesterday I spent the day with attending the Wyoming Rural Development Council's (WRDC) Community Assessment training in Cheyenne.

I usually attend these events as a fly on the wall, shooting video and photos and picking up as much information about the subject as I can, but in this case, I was part of the story.

WRDC’s Community Assessment training is for anyone and everyone interested in stepping up and volunteering to help Wyoming towns create locally-conceived and locally-driven development strategies to improve their communities.

Wyoming Rural Development Council Executive Director Mary Randolph and WRDC Senior Rural Development Specialist Jo Ferguson presented to about 15 community members yesterday in a recruitment push to fill future community assessment resource teams.

The purpose of these teams is to secure a diverse collection of experts in community and economic development to help rural communities discuss, plan and implement strategies that will improve their towns according to their resident's vision.

After individuals train, they are chosen to be on specific teams deployed to specific towns to hold three-day pow wows with community leaders and concerned citizens to nail down the major goals of the town and develop strategies to get there.

According to Randolph, the program has trained more than 500 volunteers and has assessed nearly every incorporated town in Wyoming.

The training provided a good chance to learn more about the WRDC, its mission and its impact on our state.

I highly suggest anyone who is civically minded attend one of these sessions.

To read more about WRDC community assessments, visit: http://www.wyomingrural.org/community.asp

(by Matt Cox, Marketing & PR, WBC)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Cultivating Leaders

The Wyoming Leadership Education and Development Program (L.E.A.D.) is holding a series of recruitment receptions for its next class around the state starting today in Cheyenne and ending June 4 in Riverton.

The receptions are a chance for Wyoming producers to learn more about what the L.E.A.D. program entails - a 14-month adult leadership initiative - and how it can provide tools to help producers enhance their broad-based knowledge, decision-making abilities and leadership skills for a sustainable agriculture in Wyoming.

“We are very proud of the success of the Wyoming L.E.A.D. program, which has been turning out agriculture leaders in the state for the last 25 years,” said Cindy Garretson-Weibel, director of the Wyoming Business Council’s Agribusiness Division. “We look forward to selecting Class 11 and helping them continue to meet the changing needs of Wyoming’s agriculture community.”

Following is the Class 11 Recruitment Reception schedule:

  • May 20, Cheyenne, Wyoming Business Council Board Room, 7 p.m.

  • May 21, Green River, Hampton Inn - John Wesley Powell Room, 7 p.m.
  • June 2, Ag Resource and Learning Center - Midwest Room, 7 p.m.

  • June 3, Buffalo, Best Western Conference Room, 7 p.m.

  • June 4, Riverton, Claim Steak Restaurant Banquet Room, 7 p.m.
"The recruitment receptions are a great way to learn more information about the L.E.A.D. Program and visit with alumni about their experience," said L.E.A.D. program manager Kim Porter.

To learn more about the L.E.A.D. program read the Wyoming Business Council press release: http://tinyurl.com/dbuhc2.

(by Matt Cox, Marketing & PR, WBC)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

One More Mission


Today was the first Wyoming Honor Flight for Cowboy State veterans, the national program that flies WWII veterans to Washington, D.C., to see their memorial and other nearby national landmarks free of charge.

Wyoming Business Council CEO Bob Jensen took time to escort a team of Wyoming vets on the trip. The group gathered this morning with state, city, and military officials for a send-off ceremony in Cheyenne.


The last time this gritty group of warriors stood shoulder-to-shoulder the fate of the nation rested on their backs. This time, nearly 60 years after the climax of World War II, these same men and women came together again, shoulder-to-shoulder, to celebrate their service.

With round trip boarding passes, a few carry-ons and the well wishes of more than 200 friends, family members and supporters, about 110 World War II veterans from Wyoming prepared to board a plane from Cheyenne to Washington D.C., to visit the monument built on their collective sacrifice.

While in Washington, the veterans will be recognized at a banquet and be present for the memorial’s wreath laying and flag ceremony

The veterans will return to Cheyenne Regional Airport tomorrow.

Stay tuned for Bob's account of the trip.
(by Matt Cox, Marketing & PR, WBC)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Change of address

Welcome to the almost new Wyoming Business Council blog!

We say "almost" because we are in the process of transitioning from our previous home.

The Business Council blog has languished a bit, but we're bringing it back with lots of information, lots of posts, and a brand new look that will hopefully knock your socks off.

Your online WBC personalities are Kim, Matt and Rachel, with a few guest contributers every now and then. Now that you know who we are, let us know about you! Leave us your comments and give us some feedback....

We like talking about doing business in Wyoming and hope you'll join the conversation.

Cheers,

Kim, Matt and Rachel

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

What do you want entrepreneurs?

Well, it's officially been an incredibly long time since I've posted anything on Wyospace. Much apologies.

Today, I was thinking about what we and our partners at the University of Wyoming offer as far as programs that directly benefit entrepreneurs, which lead me to a question: What types of programs would be the most helpful to you as an entrepreneur?

Being Wyoming and all, we can't really offer any meaningful grant programs (which probably is ok) though we do have some pretty good loan programs for equipment and buildings.

Nonetheless, will you do me a favor and comment on this story with some ideas on things we could do to assist you better as an entrepreneur?

Appreciate it!

(by Brandon Marshall, Business & Entrepreneurial Dvlpmt program manager, WBC)

Monday, March 30, 2009

What makes an entrepreneur?

Occasionally, because the ridiculously long word is in my title, I get asked what the definition of "entrepreneur" is.

Most people probably think its anyone who has started a business, but I'm basically uncomfortable with that because it just doesn't seem right. Alas, today I was looking through an old book in my office and I found a pretty interesting perspective on what exactly makes up an entrepreneur.

Basically they share the Seven Perspectives on the Nature of Entrepreneurship. The title of the book is "Corporate Entrepreneurship" and is written by Michael H. Morris and Donald F. Kuratko.

Here are the seven perspectives. Good food for thought...

1. Creation of Wealth - Entrepreneurship involves assuming the risks associated with the facilitation of production in exchange for profit.

2. Creation of Enterprise - Entrepreneurship entails the founding of a new business venture where none existed before.

3. Creation of Innovation - Entrepreneurship is concerned with the unique combinations of resources that make existing methods or products obsolete.

4. Creation of Change - Entrepreneurship involves creating change by adjusting, adapting, and modifying one's personal repertoire, approaches and skills to meet different opportunities available in the environment.

5. Creation of Employment - Entrepreneurship is concerned with employing, managing, and developing the factors of production, including the labor force.

6. Creation of Value - Entrepreneurship is a process of creating value for customers by exploiting untapped opportunities.

7. Creation of Growth - Entrepreneurship is defined as a strong and positive orientation towards growth in sales, income, assets, and employment.

(by Brandon Marshall, Business & Entrepreneurial Dvlpmt program manager, WBC)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Stimulating - well, at the very least, helpful

First off, go Pokes!

Now, on to business...

The federal stimulus package contains loan fee reductions, higher guarantees, new Small Business Administration (SBA) programs, secondary market incentives, and enhancements to current SBA programs to help unlock credit markets for the nation's small business sector.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provides $730 million to SBA and makes changes to the agency's lending and investment programs so they can reach more small businesses that need help.

More inforamtion is available here.

The original SBA press release is on top with tons of other information on the page too.

(by Brandon Marshall, Business & Entrepreneurial Dvlpmt program manager, WBC)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Who wouldn't want to sell to someone who can print money?

I thought it was important to get the word out today about a conference coming up in a couple of weeks in Cody, Wyo.

It's called the Gro-Biz Conference and it's focused on how your business can sell to the deepest pockets in the world, the U.S. federal government.

This conference is the definition of legitimate (not some Mathew Lesko, buy my book balogna), featuring a speech from U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., and procurement officers from multiple federal agencies looking to buy your goods and services.

You can find more information online at www.gro-biz.com. The conference will be held Feb. 18-19 at the Cody Holiday Inn.

We'll be there, and if you know what's good for your business, so will you!

See ya then!

(by Brandon Marshall, Business & Entrepreneurial Dvlpmt program manager, WBC)

Friday, January 9, 2009

Idea Blob (kersphlat!)

So, this is going to be the definition of a short posting...

A couple of weeks ago I attended a conference in California that focused on entrepreneurial education.

One of the vendors at the tradeshow was called "ideablob.com". The site runs on an awesome concept where people throw out business ideas to the entire group of people online at ideablob, then users vote on which idea they think is the best for the week. Ideablob then awards $10,000 to the most popular idea.

They're able to do this because of sponsorship by Advanta. Nonetheless, give them a look and post some ideas. Maybe you could be the next $10,000 winner.

www.ideablob.com

(by Brandon Marshall, Business & Entrepreneurial Dvlpmt Program Manager, WBC)