The Sheridan Start-Up Challenge has announced five finalists.
The challenge is hosted by Sheridan's Wyoming Technology Business Center's business incubator, with the idea to inspire the area's entrepreneurs.
Scot Rendall, director of the Wyoming Technology Business Center in Sheridan, said close to 40 businesses applied, but these finalists met all of the judges' qualifications.
"Each of the 5 finalists had a unique value proposition or addressed a niche that is underserved or not in existence already," he said.
Lisa Durgin and Sharon Jones from Gillette have designed a line of muscle pain relief gels. Their products target teens and young adults.
Alisha Bretzman is building a native plant nursery that would provide native plants for reclamation projects, including for state-run agencies.
Based in Dayton, Marta Ostler's physical therapy business wants to provide those services for rural communities and even travel to the patients when necessary.
Jared Koenig wants to create a 3D-printed all-weather sandal. Rendall said Koenig hopes to have a prototype for the final presentation.
Dwight and Meg Stanislaw in Sheridan create eco-friendly candles through their business WYO Candle Company.
Rendall said the competition is inspired by the need for more economic diversification in the state.
"Over time if these businesses can grow and be successful, we'll add to our economic job base and hopefully opportunities across a number of different industries so we can have that accomplishment of diversification achieved," he said.
The top three finalists will win $5,000, access to seed money and continued support from the business center. Rendall said the two remaining finalists will also receive support from the business incubator as they continue to develop their businesses.
The finalists will present their business plans to the judges and the community at a Pitch Night at the WYO Theater on October 29. The event is open to the public.
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