Park County Start-Up Challenge Announces Finalists
Written by Mac Watson on March 14, 2023
Impact 307, which is tied to the resources of the University of Wyoming as a business incubator for the area, is announcing the finalists for the 2023 Park County Start-Up Challenge. The Start-Up Challenge launched on January 30th and was “open to early-stage businesses which will propel significant growth in Wyoming’s economic ecosystem,” according to their press release.
Business Counselor and Powell Mayor John Wetzel describes IMPACT 307 as, “a startup business development program of the University of Wyoming and a part of the state’s Business Resource Network. It is a unit of UW’s Research and Economic Development Division. IMPACT Park County is funded through the Wyoming Innovation Partnership, that was created to modernize and focus Wyoming’s efforts on developing a resilient workforce and economy.
The grand prize for the winning finalists is seed funding of possibly up to $50,000.
The following is each finalist, including the company name, the names of the entrepreneur(s) and their business idea:
Branden’s WorkShop, Branden Christiansen – Developer of an innovative, electronically activated bipod for shooting sports.
High Plains Gear, Rhys and Kitt Haugen – A startup company specializing in quality, durable and comfortable upland game bird vests and accessories.
Hyland Nursing Services, Brittney and David Hyland – Home health, skilled nursing, and companion care in Park and Big Horn Counties.
Paintrock Senior Mobile Dental, Dr. Larry Akin and Maurine Akin – A mobile dentistry service focused on providing dental care to patients residing in long term residential care facilities.
Wild J Pyrographics, Jesse Johnsey – Creating custom artwork and boxes for concealment of firearms, jewelry and valuables with an RFID activated closure.
According to the IMPACT 307 press release, “each finalist will present at the Park County Start-Up Challenge Pitch Night, scheduled for April 6th, 5:00 PM, at the Buffalo Bill Center of The West, with an opportunity to win business funding from the seed fund established for the event.”
Since this was the Bighorn Basin’s inaugural start-up challenge, IMPACT 307 was pleased with the number of applicants that registered to compete. Out of the 35 applicants who are registered, local judges will have the difficult task in narrowing down the field to eight semi-finalists. Then, the eight semi-finalists will have the opportunity to present their ideas and meet the judges in person. Five finalists are then selected by the panel to move forward to “Pitch Night.”
“Beyond the Start-Up Challenge, it is exciting to have 35 business ideas and people interested in launching new businesses in the Bighorn Basin and Park County,” noted Business Counselor John Wetzel. “Whether applicants progressed to the finals or not, IMPACT 307 can help each entrepreneur develop their plans and highlight resources that may be available to them.”
The finalists will spend the next three weeks working with IMPACT 307 to continue to develop their plans and respond to judges’ questions and feedback provided during the semifinal round. In addition to the possibility of seed funding, Pitch Night will allow each of them to showcase and promote their ideas to a live audience. “Community members are invited to attend the finals presentations and support the people who are working hard to grow business in area towns,” according to the press release.
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 a unit of UW’s Research and Economic Development Division. IMPACT Park County is funded through the Wyoming Innovation Partnership (WIP), created to modernize and focus Wyoming’s efforts on developing a resilient workforce and economy.