WSU Receives Federal Grant to Support Entrepreneurship
OGDEN, Utah – Entrepreneurs who are in the early stage of a startup idea can turn to Weber State University to help get that idea off the ground.
As part of its regional economic development initiatives, Weber State received a grant of $718,968 from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA). The money will provide personnel and space for community entrepreneurs to apply for microgrants and mentoring to develop their business ideas.
“This is a chance for Weber State to help grow innovation in Northern Utah,” said James Taylor, WSU’s Technology Commercialization Office director. “We want to create and promote an entrepreneurial community in Northern Utah alongside our healthy manufacturing community.”
Weber State has developed and supported many entrepreneurial efforts for its students. For example, Tanner Peck, a Weber State senior in business administration and marketing, received $2,000 from the Wildcat Seed Fund in 2018. Peck and his business partner own a real estate sign installation and removal company. Clients place online orders, and signs are delivered and installed within a day.
In 2019, Peck’s company grossed $210,000. The Wildcat Seed Fund was not only an infusion of much-needed cash at a critical time. It was also a vote of confidence for a fledgling idea.
“I was able to receive enough money from the Wildcat Seed Fund to have our website re-created on a better platform that could handle the number of orders we were receiving in a time of substantial growth,” Peck said.
In addition to the Wildcat Seed Fund, Weber State hosts Opportunity Quest and Outdoor Weber. Both are contests where students share their innovative business ideas for a chance to win prize money and get advice and support from industry professionals.
Weber State also supports Startup Ogden, a high-tech space for entrepreneurs, students and other community members to collaborate and work. Once a month, Weber State and Startup Ogden host a 1Million Cups event, which provides a format for local entrepreneurs to be open and honest about business challenges and receive feedback and solutions from community members and fellow entrepreneurs.
The Hall Global Entrepreneurship Center at WSU, combined with an entrepreneurship minor, creates a climate to encourage campus community members to take risks and test ideas.
“Entrepreneurship is really starting to blossom north of Salt Lake City, and Weber State has taken a leadership position in fostering new ideas to turn concepts into real businesses,” said Brandon Stoddard, Hall Global Entrepreneurship Center director.
“We believe surrounding counties are primed to become some of the hottest areas for entrepreneurship in the country. Weber State is creating the model for what lies ahead.”
The Department of Commerce Grant will help push that entrepreneurial impact deeper into the community.
“Maybe you have a great idea, maybe you have a lousy idea, but you don’t know until you put it into action, and that’s exactly what this fund will do,” Taylor said. “It will help people put ideas into action.”
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