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Sheridan Start-Up Challenge Names 2020 Finalists

Impact 307

Five finalists have been announced in the Sheridan Start-Up Challenge.

It's the fourth year of the entrepreneurial competition with the goal of helping new businesses grow. The event is put on by Impact 307, a business incubator in Sheridan, which is part of the University of Wyoming.

Director Scot Rendall said 51 businesses applied for the challenge this year.

"It was about a 30 percent increase over the previous year in terms of applicants. We believe that some of it is due to the COVID-19 situation where people may be contemplating a career change or being able to control more of their own destiny if they've been laid off," he said.

The finalists will work on their business plan over the coming weeks and then will participate in a virtual pitch night on October 28th. The presentations will be live-streamed.

"We will work with them [finalists] on business planning and resources that we can pull together to hopefully make their ventures a success," Rendall said. "And so with what we can provide out of the university and the rest of the business resource network, we feel that entrepreneurs will be a whole lot better off working with us rather than trying to go at it alone."

Three winners receive $5,000 and access to $100,000 in seed money for business development.

This year's finalists include:

Tyler O'Daniel's company, GrillGate, which provides aftermarket pickup truck tailgates with "built-in, collapsible, propane gas grill, designed for avid tailgaters, campers, and the truck accessory market."

Iter Arnum is owned by Jared Koenig. It produces "a modular adventure rack system that attaches to the box of a pickup truck. The frame is designed for quick reconfiguration of the rack for many different uses, including hauling outdoor recreation and construction gear."

Joe Wesnitzer and Adam Bunker of Papa Joe's Produce. Papa Joe's supplies "year-round, hydroponically-grown leafy greens, seasonal produce, and special recipe value-added creations targeted at consumers of locally produced food."

Scott McDowell's company is SSI/Virtual Sandtable. "A virtual reality-based software and hardware platform that provides an immersive training experience for commercial, municipal, and education facility security applications."

Jason Hodges owns Wolf's Lighted Crystal Necklace, which is "a full-line of fantasy-themed, hand crafted crystal and epoxy jewelry, accessories, and other merchandise targeting renaissance fair and comic con enthusiasts."

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Catherine Wheeler, at cwheel11@uwyo.edu.

Catherine Wheeler comes to Wyoming from Kansas City, Missouri. She has worked at public media stations in Missouri and on the Vox podcast "Today, Explained." Catherine graduated from Fort Lewis College with a BA in English. She recently received her master in journalism from the University of Missouri. Catherine enjoys cooking, looming, reading and the outdoors.
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