With the help of two strong mentoring organizations, Wichita has engineered a name for itself in the technology sector.
WTC provides a broad range of services from consulting with business owners to research assistance to capital and investment help. WTC provides early-stage seed financing to companies, particularly those in the early stages of developing a promising technology.
"WTC is in the business of helping build technology-based companies," says Trish Brasted, president of WTC. "We are not only looking for new technologies, but also looking for entrepreneurs with the necessary commitment for success." By building a comprehensive "ecosystem" of public and private mentors, WTC helps these fledgling companies build business plans, conduct market research and, importantly, find early ways to gain investors.
WTC "Ecosystem" Breeds Success
One of WTC's most recent success stories is Wichita-based Nitride Solutions, a manufacturer of semiconductor materials.
Jeremy Jones, chief executive officer and founder of Nitride Solutions, says he's seen success in raising capital over the past two years in working with WTC and participating in the Pipeline program, a technology-entrepreneur fellowship program founded by the Kansas Technology Enterprise Corp. Jones was named the program's 2010 "innovator of the year."
"My experience in the Pipeline program, as well as our relationship with Wichita Technology Corp., really gave us the guidance, support and contacts we needed to get through this phase of the company's process," Jones says. "Trish Brasted and WTC helped us tune our business up so it was an investable enterprise."
The WTC's help was one of the major reasons Jones chose to keep his business in Kansas. Both WTC and MAMTC were sponsored in part by the Kansas Technology Enterprise Program. In 2011, those programs came under the direct guidance of the Kansas Department of Commerce.
Brian Williamson, president of JCB Laboratories, says the WTC was invaluable to his Wichita-based company in helping to develop a process for reviewing a new line of business. JCB Laboratories is a sterile-products compounding company founded in 2003. Its customers include ambulatory surgery centers and hospital and renal facilities across the world. Williamson is a 2011 member of the Pipeline and Trish Brasted is one of his mentors.
"It's a great program and WTC and the Pipeline are extremely helpful to me," he says.
MAMTC Leans on Process
MAMTC is based in Overland Park and has an office in Wichita where it provides resources to help small to mid-size companies. It has been particularly successful helping companies with their manufacturing or business processes, including LEAN manufacturing and ISO 9001 or AS 9001 certification.
Tom Smith, chief executive officer of Alltite Inc., says MAMTC helped his firm through the ISO accreditation process and also took his team through a process to gain more efficiencies and eliminate redundancies in some of their internal manufacturing processes. Wichita-based Alltite sells industrial bolting equipment and services to heavy industrial users. MobileCal, a sister company, is a mobile calibration lab that Smith developed to service customers on site. Alltite recently purchased a 14,000-square-foot building to accommodate its growth.
Jorge Montoya-Blas, president of JMT Industries, says MAMTC helped his firm with LEAN manufacturing processes and in meeting AS 9100 standards, which are required for working with the aviation industry. JMT operates a machine shop that works with aviation makers including Cessna Aircraft.
"We help companies when their processes aren't working," says Elaine Hanna, project manager for MAMTC in Wichita.