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Published November 03, 2022
IMPACT 307, Sheridan’s business incubator, has announced three winners for the 2022 Sheridan Start-Up Challenge entrepreneur competition. The Pitch Night event took place Nov. 1 at the historic WYO Theater in Sheridan.
IMPACT 307 is a startup business development program of the University of Wyoming and a part of the state’s Business Resource Network. It is administered by UW’s Office of Research and Economic Development. The not-for-profit business incubator system provides startup and early-stage companies with the expertise, networks and tools necessary for the development of successful businesses.
This year’s challenge attracted 61 applicants. A panel of local entrepreneur judges selected a dozen plans to advance to the semifinal round before that number was pared to six finalists.
“We had an incredible response to our call for applications this year, a 50 percent increase over 2021,” says Scot Rendall, IMPACT Sheridan director. “Due to the number of applicants and quality business ideas, our judging panel elected to go with six Pitch Night finalists for the first time. We had approximately 140 attendees at the WYO Theater and 330 views during the livestream. All in all, we had a very successful challenge process and a great indication of entrepreneurial activity in our area.”
Winners selected by the judges are:
-- O. clarkii Reels, founded by Zac Sexton, Rodney Fought and Brad Williams, is a developer of a premium, semi-automatic fly fishing reel that contains numerous features not available on any reel currently being sold in North America. The fly fishing reel has several patent-pending features that will have appeal to avid fly-fishers.
-- Horsewell, founded by Megan Welles, has created a myofascial equine massage blade that can be used by horse owners to treat muscle soreness in performance horses that jump, race and rodeo. The blade product also is patent pending and will be offered for sale before the end of 2022.
-- Gannett Health, founded by Louisa Crosby, is a mobile, advocacy-focused direct primary care medical practice that focuses on prevention and access. The business will be based in Sheridan and will offer health care services to patients in Sheridan and Johnson counties, as well as telehealth options to people in rural and underserved areas of Wyoming.
Each of the winners will receive $5,000 and will be eligible to apply for additional funding from the balance of the $100,000 seed fund established for the event.
Additionally, O. clarkii Reels was named winner of the 2022 Audience Choice Award from votes submitted by the live audience and livestream viewers. This $2,000 award was sponsored by Sheridan Travel and Tourism.
The panel of judges elected to make one-time cash awards from the seed fund to the three nonwinners, which are I Call Shotgun, a developer of games for teenagers and young adults; Solid Hitch, a trailer hitch innovation that eliminates excess rattle and play in trailer towing hitches; and Cannoli Bliss, a bakery producing special recipe Italian desserts.
Alaina Gross and Isabella Haas, founders of I Call Shotgun, are students at Buffalo High School. This was the second year in a row that a Buffalo High School business proposal made the Sheridan Start-Up Challenge finals.
A livestream recording of the Sheridan Start-Up Challenge Pitch Night program will be available for a few days, Rendall says. To view, go here.
For more information, call Rendall at (307) 675-1939 or email email@example.com.