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Published November 07, 2019
Five local entrepreneurs will vie for a cash award and seed funding when they pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges during the Casper Start-Up Challenge tonight.
The event begins at 4:30 p.m., with the pitch competition starting at 5:30 p.m. at The Lyric in Casper. The top three teams will receive a $5,000 award and an opportunity to apply to a $50,000 seed fund for working capital.
The Casper Wyoming Technology Business Center (WTBC) received 50 submissions for this year’s Start-Up Challenge. The WTBC is administered by the University of Wyoming’s Office of Research and Economic Development. It is a not-for-profit business incubator system that provides startup and early-stage companies with the expertise, networks and tools necessary for the development of successful businesses.
“It was an incredible response from Casper,” says Jerad Stack, WTBC-Casper director. “We received 50 submissions this year, which is the most we’ve ever received.”
The Casper Start-Up Challenge is designed to encourage and stimulate more entrepreneurial activity in the Casper area. The WTBC staff narrowed the submittals to 11 semifinalists, who were each interviewed by a local judging panel to determine the five finalists. All of the finalists have been working closely with WTBC staff to develop business models and their final pitches.
The five finalists are:
-- NevRA, founded by Austin Griess.
-- Piggyback Cocktail Co., founded by Chad and Amber Pollock.
-- ReFuel, founded by Michael Harshman.
-- Rieker Designs, founded by Marcus Rieker, Clayton Alleman and Mason Johnson.
-- Symmetry Trailers, founded by Adam Pauli.
Each finalist will give a 20-minute presentation, followed by questions from the judges.
“We also will have a $1,500 audience choice award that will be determined 100 percent by the audience,” Stack says. “So, I encourage everyone to come down, vote for your favorite company, and support these entrepreneurs.”
Following the pitch competition, the WTBC will host a reception at The Lyric where the three winning teams will be announced.
The event is sponsored by Advance Casper, Wyoming Business Council, UW, First Interstate Bank, Hilltop National Bank, Oil City News and the Wyoming Industrial Development Corp. and Frontier Certified Development Co.