AMARILLO, Texas(KAMR/KCIT) — Applications will open Oct. 31 for the WT Enterprise Center’s 2023-24 Amarillo EnterPrize Challenge.

This year, primary business owners located in Potter or Randall County can compete for award amounts up to $75,000 to grow their businesses. The total prize pool is $300,000. Business owners can apply at AmarilloEnterPrizeChallenge.com and must attend one mandatory orientation to review the process of eligibility and selection requirements. Orientation sessions begin Oct. 31.

“The excitement has begun to build as we start the 27th year of the Amarillo EnterPrize Challenge,” said Brian Enevoldsen, managing director for the WT Enterprise Center. “Every year, as we prepare for the months of work ahead, we are grateful to provide opportunity and hope to businesses looking to scale their companies.”

The Amarillo EnterPrize Challenge is a program of the WT Enterprise Center and is funded by the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation. The Amarillo EnterPrize Challenge aims to assist entrepreneurs in expanding an existing primary business outside of the Amarillo Metropolitan Statistical Area. During the annual challenge, participants receive qualified coaching and a support system to develop and execute a realistic business plan to scale their company over a five-year period.

Since the creation of the Amarillo EnterPrize Challenge in 1995, more than 100 participants have been awarded more than $7.5 million in capital. Since the WTEC started to manage the program in 2009, EnterPrize Challenge winners have reported a combined revenue of more than $1.48 billion with $407 million in payroll. As a result of winning the competition, these businesses have helped to increase revenue, pay taxes, and stimulate other economic activities in the region.

“The Amarillo EnterPrize Challenge is an integral part of the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation’s mission to create jobs and economic vitality for our area,” said Kevin Carter, AEDC president. “Many great companies have benefited from the program, and we know that many more will continue to benefit in the future.” Applicants are encouraged to work with America’s SBDC at WTAMU, a department of WT’s Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business, for assistance with creating a business plan, financial projections and demographic and industry research. This assistance is provided at no charge, but a limited number of hours are available for Amarillo EnterPrize Challenge entrants.

“The EnterPrize Challenge embodies the Engler College of Business’s commitment to fostering entrepreneurship, championing societal progress, accelerating economic growth and enriching our expansive community,” said Dr. Amjad Abdullat, dean. “We are proud to continue this initiative in close partnership with the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation, WT Enterprise Center and the City of Amarillo.”

In last year’s competition, the Amarillo EnterPrize Challenge awarded $500,000 to five area businesses that were increasing revenues outside of the Amarillo’s Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Armstrong, Carson, Oldham, Potter and Randall counties. The winners of last year’s challenge were Awesome Water Solutions, Creek House Honey Farm, Haven Aero, iDocket and Pro Chem Sales.

“If you are interested in the program and don’t know if it is a good fit, we encourage you to attend an orientation session where we will help you answer that question.” Enevoldsen said. For more information, visit AmarilloEnterPrizeChallenge.com, call 806-651-8500 or email info@WTEnterpriseCenter.com.

WT is committed to serving the region and well beyond with successful entrepreneurs and business leaders who are empowered to lead others. Partnering and retaining community businesses to improve the quality of life in the Panhandle and beyond is a key component of the University’s long-range plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World. That plan is fueled by the historic One West comprehensive fundraising campaign, which reached its initial $125 million goal 18 months after publicly launching in September 2021. The campaign’s new goal is to reach $175 million by 2025; currently, it has raised more than $150 million.

About WT Enterprise Center

The WT Enterprise Center, a department of the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business at WT, promotes economic development in the Texas Panhandle. Since its establishment in 2001, the Center has provided local entrepreneurs with top-quality resources, including certified business coaches, training and development opportunities, incubation and commercial kitchen facilities, and advanced programs. Entrepreneurs can access entrepreneurial business coaching, capital, facilities, and a wide range of training and programs to help them develop strong leadership skills and grow their companies. The WT Enterprise Center’s primary focus is on supporting business owners in building robust, profitable companies that contribute to a thriving economic community. For more information, visit wtenterprisecenter.com or contact info@wtenterprisecenter.com or 806-651-8500.

About Amarillo Economic Development Corp.

The Amarillo community depends on the success and influence of its local businesses, along with the attraction of new, primary businesses. The Amarillo Economic Development Corp. helps support and retain these current local businesses, while also attracting new businesses, by providing guidance and financial assistance. To learn more about the AEDC, visit amarilloedc.com, or contact info@amarilloedc.com or 806-379-6411.

About the Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business

The Paul and Virginia Engler College of Business at West Texas A&M University offers a range of undergraduate and graduate degrees, including a bachelor of business administration and an MBA. The College also offers graduate specialized programs in accounting, finance, computer information systems and business analytics. The College, which boasts the largest number of enrolled students among all six of WT’s colleges, is routinely named as one of the best business schools in the nation. Its online MBA program recently was ranked No. 20 by the prestigious Princeton Review. Several of its offerings were awarded Best Program status for an 11th consecutive year by U.S. News & World Report in its most recent rankings of online programs.

About America’s SBDC at WTAMU

America’s Small Business Development Center at WTAMU provides business consulting, training, and research in all areas of small business operations for both start-ups and existing businesses. Established in 1987, they have been providing no-cost business consulting and low-cost training to new and existing businesses. As a department of the Paul & Virginia Engler College of Business at West Texas A&M University, the SBDC works to serve small business owners across the Texas Panhandle. Funded by the State of Texas and the Small Business Administration, they contribute to the state’s rapid growth through the creation of new jobs and workforce training. For information, visit WTSBDC.com, or contact info@wtsbdc.com or 806-651-5151.

About West Texas A&M University

WT is located in Canyon, Texas, on a 342-acre residential campus. Established in 1910, the University has been part of The Texas A&M University System since 1990. WT, a Hispanic Serving Institution since 2016, boasts an enrollment of about 10,000 and offers 59 undergraduate degree programs and more than 40 graduate degrees, including two doctoral degrees. The University is also home to the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, the largest history museum in the state and the home of one of the Southwest’s finest art collections. The Buffaloes are a member of the NCAA Division II Lone Star Conference and offers 14 men’s and women’s athletics programs.