Where Founders and Innovation Thrive - A University of Wyoming program

Sheridan Start Up Challenge Finalists Announced

The IMPACT 307 Sheridan business incubator announced five finalists for the 2020 Sheridan Start-Up Challenge entrepreneur competition.

Those finalists include:

GrillGate, Tyler O’Daniel

An aftermarket pickup truck tailgate with a built-in, collapsible, propane gas grill, designed for avid tailgaters, campers, and the truck accessory market.

Iter Arnum, Jared Koenig

A modular adventure rack system that attaches to the box of a pickup truck. The frame is designed for quick reconfiguration of the rack for many different uses, including hauling outdoor recreation and construction gear.

Papa Joe’s Produce, Joe Wesnitzer and Adam Bunker

A supplier of year-round, hydroponically-grown leafy greens, seasonal produce, and special recipe value-added creations targeted at consumers of locally produced food.

SSI/Virtual Sandtable, Scott McDowell

A virtual reality-based software and hardware platform that provides an immersive training experience for commercial, municipal and education facility security applications.

Wolf’s Lighted Crystal Necklace, Jason Hodges

A full-line of fantasy-themed, hand crafted crystal and epoxy jewelry, accessories, and other merchandise targeting renaissance fair and comic con enthusiasts.

This year’s challenge attracted 51 applicants, a 30% increase in entrants over the 2019 challenge.

According to Scot Rendall, IMPACT Sheridan Director, the response to the challenge demonstrates greater interest in starting up new business ventures, especially with the COVID-19 pandemic this year.

“We were pleased with both the number and quality of applications. Our challenge continues to take on regional appeal, with applicants this year from Sheridan, Johnson, Campbell and Park counties,” Rendall said.

The application period closed Sept. 22. A panel of community judges reviewed all initial entrants and selected 12 for semifinalist pitches, where they had an opportunity to pose questions of the applicants. The finalists were selected Tuesday.

“The quality of the applications continues to get stronger each year, and I see many of these entrepreneurs being successful in launching their ventures” Rendall said. “I look forward to helping all applicants develop their business plans and provide the expertise necessary to help them thrive.”

The finalists will spend the next three weeks working with IMPACT Sheridan and honing their business plans. Each finalist will receive professional presentation support from the Only Co., a Sheridan-based marketing services firm. Finalist Pitch Night is Oct. 28; however, it will not be a public event this year due to COVID-19. Sheridan Media will livestream the presentations for all of those interested in viewing.

At Pitch Night, the top three judge-selected entrepreneur plans will each receive a $5,000 award and access to additional working capital from a $100,000 seed fund. All finalists will receive incubator space, ongoing counseling and access to some professional services to aid in their business.

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