OGDEN Take four 20-somethings with an idea a way to control how much insulation your clothes provide.
Add fertile ground for financing and development Weber County.
Expose them to the outside world, and in no time, you have a new company with the potential to reach a global market. And because it was created in Utah, it's likely to stay in Utah.
That's the success story of Klymit, the brainchild of four Brigham Young University students, one of whom learned you could use the noble gases argon, krypton and xenon to insulate outdoor clothing. Klymit's liners contain a dial-operated valve and bladder, so you can have warmth on demand, said Ben Maughan, the company's chief financial officer, who will graduate with his MBA this month.
Maughan attributes his company's growth to its relationship with SEED Weber Davis Morgan, a nonprofit group dedicated to growing entrepreneurial development. The SEED program, started by Marketstar founder and Weber County resident Alan Hall and Grow Utah Ventures president Craig Bott, has also taken root in St. George and Box Elder County and is making its way to Cache County this week.
The SEED program takes entrepreneurs from formulating a business idea to finding business resources to getting needed skills and mentors. The program also can help find funding.
SEED leaders see Weber, Davis and Morgan counties as ripe locations because of the proximity of Hill Air Force Base, aerospace companies and composite manufacturing, as well as outdoor recreation and precision-machining companies.
"If they start in our community, they're going to stay in our community," said Weber State University President Ann Millner, who is on the SEED executive committee. "And they're going to give back to our community."
Last year, 2,100 businesses were formed through the program, and only 7.5 percent survived.
In Klymit's case, Maughan said, mentors and venture capitalists connected through SEED Weber Davis Morgan helped a budding Klymit create a roadmap and raise $375,000. Klymit holds a patent for using the insulation technology in outdoor clothing and has produced prototypes for snow jackets, snow pants, ski boots, camping pads and sleeping bags.
Ogden's growing fame as an outdoor capital has led Klymit to locate there.
Hall said he would love to see more stories like Klymit's.
"We have a history in this state of great entrepreneurs," Hall said.
Cities and counties are spending millions of dollars to attract large businesses from outside the state. But people are catching the vision that there is enough local talent to create and grow global businesses, he said.More information about the SEED program is available at seedwdm.com.