Applications to open Oct. 31 for 2023-24 EnterPrize Challenge

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 business. The total prize pool is $300,000.

Business owners can apply at 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 Corp.’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.

The Amarillo Economic Development Corporation saw a $717,000 decrease in funding from the City of Amarillo. AEDC is receiving $3,503,340 for the 2023-24 fiscal year. 

Also seeing a major budget cut was the WT EnterPrize Challenge. The WT EnterPrize Challenge received $380,000, a decrease of $200,000.

Stanley said the decrease in funding for AEDC and the WT EnterPrize Challenge came after discussion in the recent budget workshops.

“One of the items that came up in that AEDC budget workshop was the previous years that the WT EnterPrize Challenge hadn’t been able to distribute all of the money.

“So based upon that, there was a decision by the Council to reduce the money for this one year, which was reduced by $200,000. So, we’ll have less to hand out this year, which I think makes it a little bit more appealing for those companies in those small business startups that are going after those funds to put their best foot forward for those grants.

“I think overall, it’ll still have the same positive impact that we need to see in our small business and our entrepreneurial programs.

“So, if there’s less money out there for people to go and get, I think they’ll compete harder to get it. Then those that are awarded that money, I think we’ll see even more, I’d say, return out of those businesses on that funding," Stanley said.

Councilmember Les Simpson made an effort to amend the AEDC’s budget to restore the $200,000 in reduced funding to the EnterPrize program.

“I am extremely supportive of small business and think that small business is crucial to our community. One of the key principles I ran on was that we as a city need to say yes to business. We need to do things to help and encourage business in the community."

“If you look at the track record of the EnterPrize Challenge over the last 26 years, I think it has proven to be a good investment with its support of local businesses.

“I would have liked to have seen the continuation of the full funding of the Challenge. There have been many benefits to local businesses over the years from this Challenge. There are not that many resources for small business, and I feel like this has been a great investment for the community," Simpson said.

Even with the budget cuts, Carter said that he’s grateful for the Council approved $380,000 in funding for the EnterPrize Challenge.

“As we move forward, this will be the 27th year of the EnterPrize Challenge, and we’re excited about the applicants that will be applying and I know that we will have some worthy recipients when the winners are announced after the first of the year, Carter said.

For more information, visit, call 806-651-8500 or email

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