IMPACT Park County Offering $50k To Bighorn Basin Startups

IMPACT Park County Offering $50,000 To Seed Bighorn Basin Startups

Written by on February 1, 2023

Any aspiring entrepreneurs in the Bighorn Basin can submit their ideas for a chance to gain the funds, networking, and expertise needed for a business to start and thrive in the Bighorn Basin.

The inaugural Park County Start-Up Challenge kicked off on Jan. 30, when IMPACT Park County opened the application period for this year’s competition. This starts the annual tradition of a challenge to promote and encourage entrepreneurship in the Bighorn Basin.

IMPACT 307 is a business development program of the University of Wyoming’s Office of Research and Economic Development. It is a not-for-profit business incubator system that provides start-up and early-stage companies with the expertise, networks, and tools necessary to develop successful businesses.

IMPACT Park County is an expansion of IMPACT 307’s Incubator Program, a result of the $2.4 million CARES Act Recovery Assistance Grant to the University of Wyoming from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA.) Additional funding has been provided through the Wyoming Innovation Partnership.  

Despite being called IMPACT Park County, the Challenge is open to residents of the entire Bighorn Basin: Park, Big Horn, Washakie, and Hot Springs Counties. 

Courtesy IMPACT 307

Applicants will compete for a portion of about $50,000 in seed capital funding.

The free application for the Park County Start-Up Challenge is simple and straightforward. Interested entrepreneurs answer a few questions describing their business ideas, products, or services; the markets they plan to serve; and why they believe customers will opt for their offerings over other options.

A complete list of eligibility guidelines can be found in the Participant Information document. Basically, the Challenge will accept idea-stage entrepreneurs, pre-revenue start-ups, and early-stage operating businesses that have revenues of less than $150,000 in the last year but have ideas that will rapidly increase the size and scope of the company.  

There is no entry fee for entering the Park County Start-Up Challenge.  

2023 Park County Start Up Pitch Night

Courtesy IMPACT 307

Applications for IMPACT Park County will be accepted through Friday, Feb. 24.

A panel of community judges, many of them entrepreneurs, will select the top 10 for a semifinal round. Then, five finalists will be chosen to work with IMPACT Park County to develop their plans further and prepare a presentation for Pitch Night, which will be held at the Wynona Thompson Auditorium at Cody High School on Thursday, April 6.

A link to the online application tool and more information on the Park County Start-Up Challenge can be found on the IMPACT 307 website.

Anyone with questions is encouraged to contact John Wetzel at (307) 272-0085 or In July 2022, John Wetzel was selected to join IMPACT 307 as a new business counselor who will serve the Park County area in northwest Wyoming.

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