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Five Teams Win Awards in Wind River Startup Challenge

June 8, 2021

Six teams pitched their business ideas May 22 in the hope of receiving part of the Wind River Startup Challenge’s $30,000 seed fund. Five of the competitors each walked away with a piece of the pie.

The Wind River Startup Challenge is a collaboration among the University of Wyoming’s Office of Research and Economic Development, including IMPACT 307 and the Wyoming Small Business Development Center Network; Central Wyoming College; and the Wind River Indian Reservation’s two sovereign nations, the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes.

The five winning teams were:

-- Native FX Art and Design, Eustace Day -- custom art designs that include T-shirts, logos, signs and murals.

-- Timber Beast, Eugene Coulston -- manages natural resources while producing local timber products.

-- Dancing Rain Consulting, Harmony Spoonhunter -- digitizing records, creating websites and providing data management for businesses and tribal programs.

-- Goose’s Kitchen, Leslie Spoonhunter -- a food truck with a rotating menu of high-quality and Indigenous dishes.

-- The Monahooboo Hut, Hannah Nicol -- a food trailer featuring comfort food and specializing in chicken fried steak.

“I’ve never done a business pitch, let alone know how to properly run a business. But in the experience, I gained so much knowledge in the business side of things, and I’m going to apply it to my business to be running a big, Native-owned sawmill,” Coulston says.

The challenge was launched as part of a grant received by Wyoming’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research at UW and funded by the National Science Foundation.

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