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UW’s Wind River Start-Up Challenge Launches

Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribal members will soon have the opportunity to pitch their business ideas for a chance to receive startup funding from a $25,000 seed fund.

The University of Wyoming’s IMPACT 307 — in collaboration with the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Central Wyoming College (CWC) and the High Plains American Indian Research Institute — launched the second annual Wind River Startup Challenge Tuesday, Sept. 1. The challenge is sponsored by the National Science Foundation through Wyoming EPSCoR (Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research).

No business experience is required in order to apply to the challenge. Tribal members can submit their innovative and sustainable business ideas by Monday, Oct. 12. Applications will be assessed based on potential to benefit the Wind River Indian Reservation community. Business concepts designed to benefit the environment, health and well-being of the tribal communities will receive preference. However, all concepts will be considered.

The Wind River Startup Challenge is similar to other regional entrepreneurship opportunities in Wyoming in which applicants work closely with experienced business counselors from IMPACT 307 (formerly the Wyoming Technology Business Center), SBDC and CWC. Tribal members are encouraged to run their business concepts by these counselors, including the IMPACT team at impactlaramie@uwyo.edu and Kyle Trumble at ktrumble@cwc.edu.

“I am very grateful to the Wind River Startup Challenge because I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to open my business this soon,” Stephanie C’Hair, Wind River Startup Challenge winner, says of her experience. “It would have still been in the works for years to come without this funding. It has been a wonderful opportunity to work with everyone along the way. Everyone has been extremely helpful.”

For an application and more information, go to www.windriverstartupchallenge.com.

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