Silicon Couloir News

How To 10X Your Business Webinar

If you could improve everything about your life - by 10X or by 10% - which one would you choose? Imagine it's the same amount of work, time and effort - but with radically different outcomes.

Chris Hessler, Silicon Couloir Founder and Board Member, shares with you the 10X mindset and methods in this webinar, which was recorded live on November 17th.

At 45 years old, Chris was diagnosed with life threatening brain cancer and given a 10% chance to live. Chris's response? He set off to increase his odds by 10 times, aka 10X, and began a journey that lead him to full recovery. Read more here.

Currently the CEO of Linkwell Health, Chris has started multiple successful businesses including Imagitas, a company that monetized the change of address form through the USPS. He is also a senior adviser to Alpine Investors. 


Silicon Couloir Annual Holiday Chance Meetings

Monday, December 4th from 5:00 - 7:00 pm

At Jackson Hole Still Works, 3940 South Eagle View Drive



Light food and drink will be provided.

Celebrate Local Entrepreneurs & Help Local Families in Need!

We would love to see YOU at our Holiday Party to celebrate another wonderful year of supporting entrepreneurship in the Tetons. 

One of our Silicon Couloir core values is Community Caretaking. So with that in mind, we will be helping local families this holiday season by once again supporting Teton Youth and Family Services at our party.

Please consider bringing something from the TYFS Holiday Wishlist so local families in a time of need can feel the holiday cheer we all enjoy so much.

Here is a link to the Wish List (updated as donated items are received).

Want to know more about Teton Youth & Family Services? Click here to check out this short video.

Please note the location change to JH Still Works.

We look forward to seeing you there! 


Central Wyoming College and Silicon Couloir present another Leadership Intensive

January 18 - 20th, 2018
A two and a half day summit aimed at local leaders and business owners who want to dive deeper into their leadership capabilities and potential.   

Following the success of the inaugural Leadership Intensive program held in December 2016, we are again teaming up with Central Wyoming College to offer a new session in January 2018.  The Leadership Intensive is a two and a half day deep dive into leadership and personal development.  Guided by top thought leaders and leadership educators Kat Smithhammer, Allison Bergh and Sandy Hessler, participants will explore the principals of Leadership of Self, Leadership of Others and Leadership of Organizations and come away with tools for strong personal growth in these areas. 
Leadership Intensive Program Director Liza Millet states, “NOLS, NASA and the Wharton School of Business have developed top curriculums to study and practice leadership principles and we are again bringing some of their best teachers to this program in Jackson for a unique educational opportunity!”

The class will be held January 18, 5pm-8pm, and January 19 and 20 from 9am-4pm.  The cost of the program is $395.  Signups open today and are limited to the first 25 participants.  Email to sign up.  Spots will be held with a $100 deposit.  Wyoming Workforce Training Grants may apply.


Entrepreneur Updates


Kelly Jones, Founder and CEO of Noso Patches will be featured as a Title Nine Mover and Maker! Recently, Title Nine announced 5 rad women-run companies that are changing the outdoor industry.

You can also read a great story about NOSO in the Jackson Hole News & Guide.
Check out NOSO and share with a friend!

Holy Smokes! Give’r on CNBC’s Adventure Capitalists!

Founder Bubba Albrecht appeared on CNBC’s Adventure Capitalists - think of Shark Tank meets the Outdoors!  Watch as he shares the 4-Season Give’r Gloves with a crew of celebrity investors and shares what Give'r is all about.

Here’s what Bubba said: “It was such a cool experience – a unique and fun opportunity to try something 'out of the box'.  Just as our motto states, there are times when you just have to put yourself out there and give it your all!”  He hopes to have done theGive'r community proud!

Pitch Day winner Momentous featured on Business Wire

“Momentous was built from pure passion, with a rock-solid foundation of expert knowledge and science. I immediately knew this was something that was going to help people reach their goals. Matt is a true Do-or-Dier entrepreneur and had a clear vision for creating a company with the highest-quality products that high-performance individuals need to be their best.”
Rob Dyrdek, celebrity skateboarder, and Momentous team member.

Check it out the full release here.

Order your Momentous protein powder at


TravelStorysGPS is hiring for a full-time Sales Coordinator! 

TravelStorysGPS is a mission-driven, mobile app development company based in Wyoming that contracts with public agencies, institutions and travel businesses to transform how their audiences engage with the places they visit. TravelStorysGPS' mobile app, TravelStorys, is a hands-free, location-aware app, which presents authentic, locally sourced audio stories to travelers. As travelers pass bysites of interest, stories automatically play in real-time so listeners can focus on their surroundings instead of their devices. TravelStorys meets the communication and outreach needs of its clients by supporting them in packaging, presenting in a mobile format, and marketing their geolocational content and stories, and repurposing that content for the travel industry.

Position Description/Responsibilities: TravelStorysGPS seeks an organized, personable self-starter to create, develop, and implement sales strategies. The Sales Coordinator will be responsible for coordinating sales of TravelStorysGPS products to institutions, small businesses, and public agencies as well as to large travel companies. TravelStorys hires professionals who embrace the unique challenges and team approach of a technology start-up.

Read full Job Description

If you would like us to broadcast updates from your company, please email your update to and we'll do our best to include it in a future newsletter.


Other Upcoming Events

Start Your Own Business: Casper, WY - Dec. 5, 6:30-8 pm
Learn how to launch a business with this free class from Business Advisor Cindy Unger.

Supporting the US Warfighter: Online - Dec. 12, 2-3 pm
Find out how to gain the advantage when submitting proposals to the Department of Defense.

Good Reads


Pitch Day Presenter Max Ludington Feature

From Jackson Hole News & Guide, November 22, 2017



Conservationist, app creator and public lands advocate seeks solutions to community problems.

Max Ludington is no armchair quarterback. If he sees a problem or gap in the community, he looks for a solution.

Take traffic, for instance. Thousands of cars clog Jackson Hole’s roads every day, and Ludington saw an opportunity to use technology to alleviate the congestion. With former Victor, Idaho, Mayor Zach Smith, he founded Teton Rideshare, a nonprofit that manages a smartphone app that connects carpoolers from Teton Valley, Star Valley and Jackson.

Read the full article.



Stop making S*#TY Pitch Decks

Crunchbase CEO explains how is this funny and highly informative video presentation!
Watch it now
* yes... he uses the "s-word" a lot...

Now Hiring for Executive Director

Position: Executive Director

Reports To: Silicon Couloir Board of Directors

Employment Status: Half Time Employee, growing to Full Time

Core Purpose:

The Executive Director is the face of Silicon Couloir, an evangelist for everything the organization represents, and a leader who energizes, and enables the organization's vision and position in the community while managing all Silicon Couloir programs.

Performance Objectives:

-  Be the face of Silicon Couloir and entrepreneurship in the Teton region, the state, and the nation.

-  Strategically lead the Silicon Couloir Board.

-  Identify and connect with all key stakeholders (Community Leaders, Trustees, Partners, Sponsors, Entrepreneurs) in a systematic manner.

-  Develop a financially sustainable organization: 18 months of operating capital on hand/in reserve in addition to annual operating budget funding.

-  Execute and expand programming with excellence and recommend new programming as relevant opportunities present themselves.

-  Expand Silicon Couloir ecosystem beyond the Tetons; recognized as a regional/national leader in fostering entrepreneurship.

Role-Based Competencies and Qualities:

-  Practical experience with entrepreneurship.

-  Experience with strategic thinking, leadership, and project planning.

-  Experience and comfort with public speaking to crowds of up to 500.

-  Ability to manage and report on financial health of an organization.

-  Socially oriented and comfortable engaging with all members of our community.

-  Fundraising with ability to manage limited resources.

-  Ability to lead and organize meetings and programs of up to 500 people.

-  Ability to organize, manage, and lead a Board of Directors and their meetings.

-  Experience managing a staff of 1-3 people.


$35,000 - $45,000 annually for half time employment (growing to full-time), including health care stipend.

To Apply:

Email a resume and cover letter to by Friday October 27th.

Entrepreneur Updates:

2 Pitch Day Presenters Launch!

2017 Pitch Day winner launches new direct to consumer website for the highest quality protein powder on the market.
It's go-time at Momentous. Since the team's Pitch Day win, the direct-to-consumer supplement brand has released their first line of performance proteins to an extensive list of professional and Division 1 sports teams, expanded their list of advising dietitians, and just this month launched Consumers will be able to order all of Momentous' products through their website only, with a one-time purchase and flexible subscription options available.
Further developments include the addition of former Union Square Hospitality Group President and CFO Jeff Flug to the company's Board of Directors, and the hiring of Olympic rower Sara Hendershot to lead the team's influencer marketing efforts. The team has also begun prototyping plant-based alternatives to their existing products and expect to release first versions to their Major League sports partners at the end of 2017. All of Momentous' products have now received a sign-off from NSF Certified for Sport to ensure label accuracy and safety for athletes subject to anti-doping policies.
Be on the lookout for a launch announcement as well as Momentous products in select Jackson Hole retailers this winter. For press inquiries please contact

Use the special coupon code below to try it out for yourself.
They are eager to have customer feedback!
Discount code: WANFRIENDS20 

Wrap -n- Snaps

2017 Pitch Day presenter Wrap -n- Snaps is pleased to announce their website is live and you can now purchase their awesome products at

The flagship Wrap -n- Snaps product is a silicone bracelet for children featuring interchangeable snaps. Each bracelet system offers kids a colorful and interactive way to express their personalities and passions to the world. 

Rex Specs is Hiring!

Rex Specs is looking to hire an employee to manage customer experience and become a growing member of the team. For more information please visit

Buddy Pegs Closes 1st Round of Funding

Teton Valley based entrepreneurs Scott and Jannine Fitzgerald are taking their children's media brand to the next level! Thanks to a successful Friends and Family round of financing, accelerated by the Silicon Couloir Angel network, the Buddy Pegs team is excited to move into the next phase of product development and market testing.

Help them out by sharing their children's podcast with parents of kids 10 and under.


Garage Grown Gear Announces Gear Giveaway!

Garage Grown Gear – an online store and mag that features cool, new outdoor gear startups – put together an ultralight giveaway with $2,000+ in prizes for y'all. Three lucky winners will pick up gear from Give’r and seven other righteous brands. Cruise on over to GGG to check it out and enter to win!


Note: Entering the giveaway signs you up for e-mails from all participating brands, but you can opt out at any time. Also, once you enter your e-mail, there are TONS of opportunities for bonus entries.

Fun Fact: Our founder, Bubba Albrecht, and Garage Grown Gear’s founder, Amy Hatch, first got to know each other during a 10-week long entrepreneur’s boot camp in Jackson Hole called The Start-Up Intensive. That was four years ago, and now both businesses are surging ahead inspired to give it their all.  


Naught Fruit Featured in News & Guide

Juan Morales, Start-Up Intensive graduate, was featured in the Jackson Hole News and Guide. The article highlights his entrepreneurial spirit and the success of his business, Naught Fruit.

Read the full story here.


Other Upcoming Events
SHIFT is this week! November 1-3

We wanted to make sure you were aware of events at SHIFT that pertain to the work we're doing in Jackson.

The State Office of Outdoor Recreation Workshop will be held Nov. 1 from 8 a.m. — 12 p.m. at the Snow King Resort.

This workshop, designed to create a toolkit for the creation of state offices of outdoor recreation, builds on last year’s program, which participants from North Carolina credited with taking “a year and a half” off the process of launching their office. Rather than focusing on existing state offices in Colorado, Utah and Washington, as we have the past two years, the workshop will feature representatives from state offices that are now coming online.

The Business Alliances workshop will take place November 3, from 1-5 PM at the Snow King Resort Hotel.

Business alliances around the country are successfully harnessing industry voices to advance public land issues. Such alliances offer a powerful tool that is greatly underleveraged in contemporary conservation: coalitions of business interests that advocate on behalf of public lands.

On November 3, join representatives from successful business alliances from Oregon, North Carolina and other states as we explore how alliances are formed, the challenges they address and how they apply their stakeholder coalitions for collective impact.

Beyond Tourism

For many GEMS (Gateways to Environments of Major Significance, aka gateway communities), tourism is life. In “tourist season,” restaurants, hotels and businesses that cater to visitors flourish, while in “shoulder seasons”… not so much. Economic and career opportunities are often limited to service-sector jobs—and when GEMS become popular, the price of living can strain the ability of residents to remain in the communities they love.

A number of GEMS around the continent are leveraging the talent and resources of second-home owners, retirees, and business leaders to foster economic ecosystems that are more diverse and resilient. This panel features representatives from business incubator groups in an exploration of how they’ve been promoting entrepreneurship in their communities—and how they insure the resulting prosperity protects “the golden goose” of the public lands in which they occur.

Moderator: Scott Fitzgerald, Executive Director, Silicon Couloir, Jackson, WY


New this year, and in partnership with Silicon Couloir, SHIFT For The Planet will feature a "Pitch Day" style event featuring non-profit leaders from around the country.

Beers and Conversation-Wednesday, November 8, 2017 6:00 PM

Wildlife Brewing
145 S Main St., Victor, ID

Join the Teton Valley Tech Meetup for beers and conversation on all things tech, 6 pm at Wildlife Brewing in Victor.  Second and fourth Wednesday of every month. 

For more information go to the MeetUp page here.


Silicon Couloir Webinar: How to 10X Your Business November 16th, 9 AM

Following his presentation at the November Chance Meetings, Silicon Couloir Board Member Chris Hessler will host a live webinar further exploring how to 10X Your Business.
Log onto Zoom at for access.



November is here!
This month starts the biggest holiday season of the year.

This Friday, November 3 I'll be leading a specialized Instagram workshop through CWC to make sure your business is ready for the holidays!  What's  your seasonal strategy?  Do you have one?  Come to this 2 hour session     from 9-11 AM to learn more about:

  • The latest Insta trends, & how to make them your own...

  • Creative options so your photos & videos stand out.
  • Little known tips & tricks to capture a wider audience!

Get ready for some very merry and valuable insights to implement!   
Class is at intermediate level.

See this link for more details!

Contact Central Wyoming College at (307) 733-7425 to sign up.  

Classrooms at The Center for the Arts can only hold a limited number of people, so call now before these workshops sell out like the last off-season!


Making the Most Out of your 2017 Holiday Season Webinars

Friday, November 3rd @ 11:00 AM
or Thursday, November 9th @ 11:00 AM

It's that time of year again! The holiday season is upon us, which means more customer requests, longer business hours and producing a holiday marketing strategy that will help you stand out from the crowd using the right message. This webinar will focus on managing and planning for the holiday marketing season. You'll learn how to compete for your audiences' attention and how to maximize your time for the biggest return on investment. We'll also cover:

- What types of holiday promotions and messages you should include in your marketing plan
- How to produce a holiday message that connects with your audience
- How other businesses or organizations like yours have produced effective holiday messages
...and more!

Register Here:


Good Reads

A Guide to Seed Fundraising

From: The YCombinator Blog, January 7, 2017

Startup companies need to purchase equipment, rent offices, and hire staff. More importantly, they need to grow. In almost every case they will require outside capital to do these things.

The initial capital raised by a company is typically called “seed” capital. This brief guide is a summary of what startup founders need to know about raising the seed funds critical to getting their company off the ground.

Read the full article.

Can the American Heartland  Remake Itself in the Image of Silicon Valley? One Startup Finds Out

From:, May 23, 2017

ROSS DIEDRICH HAD gone pale and raw-boned. The CEO of a year-old startup in Denver, he’d stay at his office until the middle of the night, go home and sleep for about five hours, then chug a spinach smoothie and start again. He was just 27 years old, but he felt wrung out. Now he was standing in front of six angel investors, wearing a blazer over a T-shirt printed with the word “Covered”—the name of his startup—and regretting he hadn’t spent more time practicing for this moment. Postponing the meeting hadn’t been an option. It was early December 2016, and Ross needed $750,000 or his company would fail.

Read the full article.

As 'Unicorns' Emerge, Utah Makes a Case for Tech Entrepreneurs

From: The New York Tiimes, October 11, 2017

When Josh James traveled to the Bay Area in 2000, seeking funding for a web analytics company he had founded, he spoke at length with a venture capitalist about his plans for growth. The conversation was going well, Mr. James recently recalled, until the investor asked where he was based. "As soon as I told him I was from Utah, he literally, without saying a word, turned around and walked away."

Utah entrepreneurs no longer get that icy response.
Read the full article.

Chance Meetings: Monday, October 2nd, 5-7pm


Sometimes all you need is the right connection and a little inspiration. Well, what are you waiting for? Come find both at our monthly networking event. You never know...

Location: Roadhouse Brewing Co. Tap Room

In addition to great Roadhouse brew, Jackson Hole Still Works will be serving up cocktails and Bin 22 will be pouring wine. 

Theme: Where do entrepreneurs and non-profits intersect?

Are environmental principles and philanthropy an aspect of your business model? Curious what triple bottom line really means and how it relates to you? Do your customers pay more for green products and prefer to do business with environmentally conscious businesses?

Silicon Couloir’s October 2nd Chance Meetings will feature Christian Beckwith, founder and director of SHIFT, discussing the importance and impact of entrepreneurship guided by conservation ethics and sustainability in the Teton region.

The conversation will serve as an introduction to this year's SHIFT JH Festival, built upon “The Business Case for Public Lands:” How investments in outdoor recreation and the conservation of public lands create vibrant, resilient economies in communities around America.

New to SHIFT this year is an innovative SHIFT program, “SHIFT for the Planet”, scheduled for November 1st, from 2-5 pm. Inspired by Silicon Couloir’s Pitch Day, “SHIFT for the Planet” aims to connect the for-profit and non-profit sectors in an effort to advance the triple bottom line so important to our community.
Designed in partnership with 1% for the Planet, Silicon Couloir, George B. Storer Foundation and Blue Sky Funders Forum, “SHIFT for the Planet” spotlights the most innovative, impactful, and replicable examples of outdoor recreation and conservation work in the country. The event is designed to amplify and enhance the shared impact of funders and peers.

Join us to explore how non-profits can inspire a new culture of for-profit stewardship that connects the two sectors in an effort to advance the triple bottom line so important to our community.


Tuesday, Sept. 26, 5:00--6:30 p.m., Teton Geotourism Center, Driggs

Come mix and meet First Western Trust Relationship Manager, Mike Eden.

Mike oversees business strategies to help create unique and valuable solutions for First Western clients, as well as fostering and growing relationships with the greater Jackson Hole and Teton County community.

He brings particular expertise to new and growing businesses through his involvement with the Silicon Couloir Angel Mentor Group in Jackson 

Mike will offer useful perspectives on start-up business lending and banking, especially the critical factors in a successful loan application.

(wine, beer and soft drinks provided)

Our Chance Meetings are open and free mixers for bright minds to connect in the Teton region. Launching a business or looking to invest?

Looking to work with great people? Have an idea or a challenge? Wanting to collaborate or find a mentor?

Come to next week's Chance Meeting to network and learn more about your peers in our Teton regional entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Gold Level Community Caretaker

Wyoming Global Tech Summit

In Jackson for the 4th year.

Last week, Wyoming Governor Matt Mead invited technology leaders from across the country to join in a discussion about Wyoming's tech future.

As part of the Governor's ENDOW strategy, "tech" has been targeted as a means to diversifying the state's economy.

Aside from the clear message of preparation for flying cars and robots (it was strongly suggested that every business develop an artificial intelligence strategy), tech leaders recommended Wyoming identify specific industries to focus tech attention. Agriculture and cattle were two examples.

Governor Mead opened 4th Annual Tech Summit at the Center for the Arts

As the state continues to put effort into attracting tech investment, the current state of tech start ups was well laid out recently in this Wired magazine article: 

Can the American Heartland Remake Itself in the Image of Silicon Valley? One Startup Finds Out

BMI (Business Micro Intensive) Announces
Two Courses for October:

Accounting for Business Owners

In this three-session course Sinéad King will take the fear out of accounting so you can develop an understanding of the power it can provide in your business. This course is designed to educate and empower you to have successful interactions with your accounting professional(s), ensuring that you get all the information needed from them to run a business successfully. Participants will learn to recognize early warning signs in financials and what your financials are telling you.

Managing People- Setting Expectations

In this course Cynthia Blankenship will help you understand how to set clear, documented expectations of your staff. Managing people can be a challenge. This course is designed to provide participants with the tools needed for effective people management, starting with setting and documenting expectations. In addition to creating a roles and responsibilities document, we will role play introducing the concept to employees.

Each course is a three-part series. The total cost of each course is $179 for all three sessions. 
BMI is designed for business owners. The courses give a hands-on approach to learning important tools and skills to help you better manage your business. 
If you are a business consultant or business specialist and are interested in presenting through BMI, please contact Jennifer Ford at today for more information. 

Entrepreneur Updates

Sego Skis


Sego Skis, a Victor based company was recently featured in the Jackson Hole News and Guide for their remarkable growth and continued quality. 

If you would like us to broadcast updates from your company, please email your update to and we'll do our best to include it in a future newsletter.


Good Reads

A Guide to Seed Fundraising

"Without startup funding the vast majority of startups will die." 

Google launches resources for Start Ups

All of Google’s tools, best practices, and communities for startups are now in one place. Visit the newly launched Startup with Google site:

Upcoming Events

WYSBDC: Tips to Help Retail Businesses Survive an Economic Change

September 28, 2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Join serial entrepreneur and retail guru Tom Shay as he explores ways to learn from the past, strengthen your customer base and and create more loyal customers who love your business as much as you do! Presenter, Tom Shay, is a fourth-generation small business owner. His teachings provide the "nuts and bolts" necessary to improve the operation and profitability of the business.

Small business and food safety workshop

Monday, Sept 25th at the Teton Valley Kitchen on Main Street in Driggs

Visiting University of Idaho faculty in Family and Consumer Sciences will be there to discuss ingredient sourcing and nutritional analysis.

Shift For The Planet

November 1, 2-7pm, 2017

In partnership with Silicon Couloir





Bonus Meeting!

Wyoming Secretary of State visits with Silicon Couloir

Secretary of State Murray was in Jackson last week and reached out to learn more about Silicon Couloir and our efforts to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Tetons.

Executive Director Scott Fitzgerald, and Founding Board Member Chris Hessler, explained the Silicon Couloir journey and toured the Secretary through Spark co-work space in downtown Jackson as a way to highlight a critical piece of the ecosystem.

Secretary of State Murray was in Jackson last week and reached out to learn more about Silicon Couloir and our efforts to create an entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Tetons.

Executive Director Scott Fitzgerald, and Founding Board Member Chris Hessler, explained the Silicon Couloir journey and toured the Secretary through Spark co-work space in downtown Jackson as a way to highlight a critical piece of the ecosystem.

Have News To Share?

As always, please feel free to send news of your company's press, events, successes, and milestones to and we'll do our best to feature them in our newsletters!

Are you a community caretaker?

Silicon Couloir strengthens our Teton regional community by empowering the entrepreneurial ecosystem. More than just business development, we believe in enriching our community character and enhancing our mountain town culture. Help us support business pioneers in the Tetons by becoming a community caretaker!

To offer your time or talent, please email me at

Scott Fitzgerald
Executive Director


A very special thank you to all our business community caretakers!

First Western Trust
Silver Star Communications
RPK3 Law
Heimerl Law
Income Focus Portfolio Management
Peregrine Capital
Willow Street Group
Start Up Institute / Central Wyoming College
TMBR Creative Agency
Spark Jackson Hole

Copyright © 2017 Silicon Couloir, All rights reserved. 
You are receiving this email because you either signed up on, signed up at a recent Chance Meeting event, or are currently on 22in21's email list. 

Our mailing address is: 
Silicon Couloir

PO Box 1964

Wilson, WY 83014
Add us to your address book

Silicon Couloir Awarded $38,000 from USDA to Empower Entrepreneurship in the Tetons

 JACKSON, WY (August 30th, 2017) –   This Fall, Silicon Couloir is launching a new local mentorship program based on the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Venture Mentoring Service (VMS). The Silicon Couloir Venture Mentoring Program will connect the leadership teams of local ventures with Teton regional mentors interested in sharing their professional wisdom and experience. To fund the initial training at MIT, Silicon Couloir applied for, and was recently awarded, a Rural Business Development Grant from the The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“After serving for almost 2 years as the Silicon Couloir Director, it became clear to me that the one missing element in our support of local entrepreneurship was ongoing, structured mentorship. I believe this program will be the mortar that holds together the bricks of our existing programming.” said Silicon Couloir Executive Director Scott Fitzgerald.

The mentoring program will be modeled after the highly successful MIT Venture Mentor Service (VMS) launched in 2000. MIT VMS is focused on team mentoring where one venture (typically the founding team or leadership team) is mentored by 2-4 mentors. The emphasis is on the development of the entrepreneur with the belief that stronger entrepreneurs are more likely to build successful companies. “I see this program as a key component of our work to help support the growth of non-tourism based companies in the Tetons. Companies that have a real shot at creating higher than average wages and meaningful career paths for members of our community.” said Silicon Couloir founding Board Member Nathan Adams who is helping lead the launch of this program.

Thanks to the USDA grant, 6 delegates from Silicon Couloir will travel to Cambridge, MA to undergo the MIT VMS Immersion Training Program from September 26th - 28th, 2017. During this visit, Silicon Couloir Directors and staff will be taught:

●      strict guiding principles that assure unbiased advice to entrepreneurs

●      the Team Mentoring methodology

●      best practices for selecting and retaining highly qualified and committed volunteer mentors

●      eligibility and selection criteria for mentees

●      detailed processes and procedures to ensure operational success of the program

●      program evaluation criteria and metrics

According to their website,  mentors in the MIT VMS Model “are an elite group of professionals carefully selected based on their expertise in business formation and operations, and for their skills as advisors as well as their desire and ability to give back. Mentors’ careers represent a wide range of experience, such as founders, CEOs, chief technical officers, or executives of companies. These mentors bring a wealth of entrepreneurial experience and contacts across a broad range of industries and markets. Mentors participate in VMS for many reasons including the intellectual appeal of this work and the collegial team approach VMS uses to address each entrepreneur’s needs.”

At the conclusion of this training, the SiIicon Couloir Venture Mentoring Program will launch a pilot program this Fall for up to 6 local ventures.

About the MIT Venture Mentor Service

MIT VMS uses a team mentoring approach with groups of 3 to 4 mentors sitting with the entrepreneur(s) in sessions that provide practical, day-to-day professional advice and coaching. VMS mentors are selected for their experience in areas relevant to the needs of new entrepreneurs and for their enthusiasm for the program. Mentors are required to subscribe, in writing, to a Statement of Principles that govern their behavior, outline their responsibilities, guard against conflicts of interest, and control financial involvement with the entrepreneurs and their ventures. Relationships between mentors and entrepreneurs are formed based on the needs of the entrepreneur and the interests of available mentors.

The primary factor enabling MIT VMS to leverage impact and scale is volunteerism. With a very modest budget and paid staff, VMS has over 175 volunteer mentors who actually do the mentoring and assist in the operation and management of the program. The VMS chairman, director and co-directors are also volunteers. MIT VMS mentors contribute over 12,000 hours of volunteer time to mentoring, program leadership and disseminating practices to other institutions annually.

For over 10 years, MIT VMS has used an Outreach Training Program to proactively disseminate its practices, experiences and methods to other universities and economic development organizations across the US and worldwide. The Outreach activities include a 2-1/2 day Immersion Program as well as a series of other complementary training programs, as well as a Users Group to exchange learning and practices with the organizations that have completed the Immersion Program and have implemented mentoring based on their model.

MIT VMS has been recognized as an innovative leader by the Kauffman Foundation, and has been awarded a Presidential Citation from the MIT Association of Alumni and Alumnae, and the Adolf F. Monosson Prize for Entrepreneurship Mentoring. MIT VMS was awarded the NCCI (National Consortium for Continuous Improvement in Higher Education) 2010 Award of Leveraging Excellence, recognizing its contribution to innovation and improvement in higher education.

About the USDA RBDG Grant Program

A competitive grant designed to support targeted technical assistance, training and other activities leading to the development or expansion of small and emerging private businesses in rural areas which will employ 50 or fewer new employees and has less than $1 million in gross revenue. All applications are evaluated based on:

●      Evidence showing job creation at local businesses;

●      Percent of non-federal funding committed to the project;

●      Economic need in the area to be served;

●      Consistency with local economic development priorities;

●      Experience of the grantee with similar efforts

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