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Published October 30, 2020
IMPACT 307, Sheridan’s business incubator, has chosen three winners for the 2020 Sheridan Start-Up Challenge entrepreneur competition.
IMPACT 307, with business incubators in Casper, Laramie and Sheridan, is a business development program of the University of Wyoming. It is administered by UW’s Office of Research and Economic Development.
Despite the inability to hold Pitch Night as a public event this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, the night was still a success, says Scot Rendall, IMPACT Sheridan director.
“Our livestream audience and choice voting numbers indicated significant interest in this annual event showcasing the best of Sheridan’s new entrepreneurs,” Rendall says of the Oct. 28 event. “Our challenge application pool this year was up 30 percent over 2019, which reinforces the fact that Wyoming is a great place to consider starting new businesses.”
The following is a brief summary of each winner, including the company name, the entrepreneur(s) and their innovative business idea:
-- GrillGate, founded by Tyler O’Daniel, is a collapsible propane gas grill designed within the contours of a pickup truck tailgate and targets the tailgating, outdoor enthusiast and pickup truck accessory market.
-- Iter Arnum LLC, founded by Jared Koenig, has created a modular, customizable, lightweight and reconfigurable rack system that fits within the box of a pickup truck and is intended for the growing overlanding backcountry exploration market.
-- Wolf’s Lighted Crystal Necklace, founded by Jason Hodges, offers unique and handcrafted crystal necklaces, other jewelry, props and accessories targeting fantasy cosplayer events and shops nationwide.
Each of the winners will receive $5,000 and pro bono legal advice from the Sheridan law firm Davis & Cannon. The companies also will be eligible to apply for additional funding through a $100,000 seed fund established for the event. GrillGate was named the winner of the $750 audience choice award from votes submitted by livestream viewers.
Two other finalist companies made presentations during Pitch Night. They are:
-- Papa Joe’s Produce, founded by Joe Wesnitzer and Adam Bunker, is 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, founded by Scott McDowell, has created a virtual reality-based software and hardware platform that provides visualization and critical information for site planning and preparation.
All five finalists will be offered free office space in the Sheridan incubator and ongoing counseling services to help further the development of their business plans.
The Sheridan Start-Up Challenge is made possible through the support of Sheridan County, the city of Sheridan, the Wyoming Business Council, the Homer and Mildred Scott Foundation, First Interstate Bank, and Davis & Cannon.
For more information, call Rendall at (307) 675-1939 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.