Cheyenne Chamber housing first cybersecurity business counselors in nation

The Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce now houses the first two cybersecurity business counselors in the nation, Alexandra Farkas and Justin Gorman.

As part of a Microsoft TechSpark Grant awarded March 7, the chamber and CyberWyoming teamed up to train local, business-minded human resources staff to respond to the need for the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent project.

Cybersecurity business counselors are a new profession, which CyberWyoming defines as people that speak business language who are in a personal and local trusted position to walk small business owners through a cybersecurity checklist.

The training is five days long, and includes recent cybersecurity studies and why Wyoming businesses are at risk.

The idea for the collaboration formed in October when Patrick Wolfinbarger and Laura Baker, co-founders of CyberWyoming, and Dennis Ellis, Microsoft TechSpark manager, met with Stephanie Meisner-Maggard of the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce to discuss an idea to build Wyoming’s cybersecurity awareness level.

The scope of the project is to increase small business cybersecurity advocacy, education, awareness and adoption of best practices in the Cheyenne community by training a cybersecurity business counselor who will assist businesses and work in the Greater Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce.

The program is designed as an outreach program to small businesses. Both Farkas and Gorman will help businesses walk through cyber checklists, provide educational materials and presentations, manage a cybersecurity committee that all Chamber members can access, and provide tools and resources to businesses to meet best practices in cybersecurity.

For more information about the program, email CyberWyoming at info@cyberwyoming.org.

UW, WBC launch network to connect entrepreneurs and mentors

Budding entrepreneurs across Wyoming will have access to experienced mentors through a new network being launched by the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming’s Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

The High Plains Mentor Network is intended to increase the chances of success for Wyoming entrepreneurs in their startup endeavors, providing cost-free guidance from those with experience in launching successful ventures.

Those interested in serving as mentors – or needing mentoring and coaching – can learn more and apply at www.uwyo-iie.org/mentor.

Mentors should have significant experience relevant to startups; be willing to invest significant time for three to six months; be altruistic and interested in giving back; and not expect compensation. They’ll generally fall under three categories:

Startup or role model mentor – a person who has successfully started and grown a company.

Industry mentor – a person with industry-specific experience and networks.

Knowledge or functional mentor –a person with a specific set of business skills.

Those signing up to be mentored should be new venture founders who are beyond the concept stage; be actively working to develop the businesses; and have invested time or money in the ventures.

The network will endeavor to match an entrepreneur with mentors who are from a similar industry as the startup company and who have diverse skill sets, such as marketing, finance and fundraising.

All mentors and entrepreneurs will be interviewed by the High Plains Mentor Network advisory board, which will evaluate and match the individuals. Meetings will take place at least once per month, in person or via distance technology.

To learn more, go to www.wyomingbusiness.org.

Milestones

Wyoming Taxpayers Association Chairman Bobby Rolston welcomed Ashley Harpstreith as the organization’s new executive director...the Wyoming Trial Lawyers Association announced that Cheyenne attorney Elizabeth Lance will serve as the association’s president this year.

To submit a local business news item to the Wyoming Tribune Eagle, email it to news@wyomingnews.com; fax it to 307-633-3189; or mail it to Brian Martin, Wyoming Tribune Eagle, 702 W. Lincolnway, Cheyenne, WY 82001.

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