By Paolo Cisneros
In a state like Wyoming where sweeping mountain vistas are the stage for groundbreaking technological innovations, one community has set itself apart when it comes to cultivating an environment that is supportive of entrepreneurship and sustainable business development.
Located just outside the pristine Bighorn National Forest, Sheridan, Wyo. has won recognition at the regional, national and international levels for its unique slate of offerings to members of the business community.
Backdropped by breathtaking views of the nearby mountain range and filled with unique regional attributes such as an active rodeo grounds and a vibrant and colorful Main Street, Sheridan residents are known for their justifiable hometown pride. What’s more, the community of about 17,000 offers access to a highly skilled workforce and an active network of proven business leaders from a wide array of fields.
“Sheridan has been discovered by knowledge-based entrepreneurs as a location that enables their dream to gestate and enables social interaction with others to refine and execute their dream,” said Jay Stender, executive director of the local economic development consortium Forward Sheridan. “ We have a small but growing critical mass of programmers and tech innovators in machining, main frame optimization, mobile apps and healthcare.”
At a time when so many states are struggling frantically to emerge from dire financial straits, Wyoming consistently boasts one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation. Additionally, the state is well known among members of the national business community for its extremely low tax burden, imposing neither personal nor corporate income taxes.
Instead, mining activity and tourism contribute substantially to state coffers. This allows government agencies to enthusiastically back the development of high-tech infrastructure while continuing to support the state’s higher education system and aid in the development of important public works projects.
While this pro-business climate is common throughout all of Wyoming, Sheridan remains unique, thanks largely to the ongoing efforts of dedicated individuals from both the public and private sectors.
“Creation of the right kind of conditions for jobs and businesses to prosper does not happen overnight. It takes a commitment of years, decades,” said Sheridan Mayor Dave Kinskey. “The economic development of efforts of Wyoming — and Sheridan — extend back for years and are now yielding fruit. The fiscal implosion of tax and spend administrations in other states has caused so many of them to do more of the same, driving jobs and employers to look around for more fertile ground in the heartland of America: Wyoming.”
The home to several tech startups that have recently won accolades on major international stages, Sheridan has become an attractive destination for business owners looking to feel supported in their efforts.
From the recent launch of a state-of-the-art data center by Ptolemy Data Systems to the creation of a trailblazing mobile healthcare application by MobileHealthWare, Sheridan has proven to be an exceptional setting for those looking to transform their vision into reality.
But for as much progress as has already been made, Sheridan residents aren’t ready to declare their mission accomplished. Stakeholders in this quintessentially Western town have recently undertaken several initiatives aimed at further improving infrastructure, providing specialized career training for their citizenry and fostering a community that values the tried-and-true values of innovation and hard work above all else.
And as new ideas and economic ventures continue to sprout amidst the jagged mountain peaks and crystalline rushing waters of this northern Wyoming town, public officials remain ready to assist both would-be entrepreneurs and existing members of regional business community.
“There is no greater priority for City Hall than economic development and job creation,” Kinskey said. “City Hall, county government and state government are focused like a laser on maintaining our business friendly regulatory and tax environment.”
Among residents and business owners alike, the optimism in Sheridan’s mountain air is virtually tangible.