Local Entrepreneurs Win $37,500 in Funding From Sweetwater County Innovation Launchpad

Six Sweetwater County startup companies won $37,500 in funding at the first Sweetwater County Innovation Launchpad (SCIL) Pitch Night Sept. 27 at the Broadway Theater in Rock Springs. 

SCIL is a competition for local entrepreneurs that provides valuable mentorship from the University of Wyoming’s IMPACT 307 and local professionals. It is administered by IMPACT Sweetwater, a collaboration between IMPACT 307 and Western Wyoming Community College. It is made possible by an Economic Development Administration’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act grant.

SCIL’s program is sponsored by the Wyoming Business Council, Gov. Mark Gordon’s Wyoming Innovation Partnership (WIP), Rock Springs Main Street Urban Renewal Authority, Rock Springs Chamber of Commerce and the Green River Chamber of Commerce.

The six companies that will receive seed funding are:

— GM Valley Processing, started by Glen and Mindy Reddon, is a custom meats processing facility in Farson. Born and raised in Wyoming, the Reddons strive to close the gap in their area for domestic meat processing.

— High Desert Technology LLC, founded by Cody and Brittany Gray, is a startup technology company specializing in safety and reliability for the recreational and automotive industry. Cody is a controls engineer for Enterprise Products. He is a graduate of Western Wyoming Community College and a member of the school’s Electrical and Instrumentation Advisory Board. Brittany is the director of stewardship for Climb Wyoming. She is a UW graduate, a UW Alumni Association board member and a Leadership Wyoming graduate.

— Meridical Health Solutions was founded by Amanda Finch, a board-certified holistic health care practitioner, certified functional nutrition counselor, certified personal trainer and a functional nutrition specialist. Finch uncovers the root causes of symptoms and develops customized lifestyle programs — focused on prevention and mediation — to improve her clients’ health. She has 24 years of experience in fitness and 12 years of nutritive intervention.

— Shop Dog Custom, founded by Dylan Covington, is a woodworking business that focuses on custom cabinetry and built-ins. Covington says he came up with the idea for his company when he waited several months for kitchen cabinets from a big-box store. When the shipment arrived, several of the units were badly damaged. For more information, go to www.facebook.com/shopdogcw.

— Wild Sage Market is increasing access to locally produced foods and other healthy products by opening a community-owned grocery store. Memberships provide the initial capital needed to develop the business and open the store. Founders include Nick Walrath, Stacey Dolinar, James Chavez, Aaron Slaton, Megan McComas, Chelsie Naylor, Pete Rust and Laurie Carollo. For more information, go to www.WildSageGreenRiver.com.

— Wyoming Apparatus was founded by Justin Hood in 2020 as an avenue for small fire departments to maintain older equipment. Today, the company offers a multitude of services centered on fire trucks throughout Wyoming. Wyoming Apparatus helps fire departments achieve and maintain National Fire Protection Association compliance for Wyoming emergency vehicles. For more information, go to www.wyomingapparatus.com, or follow on Facebook or Instagram.

Seed funding, which amounts to $36,500, will be released as the companies meet milestones advancing their businesses. Seed funding is made possible by WIP, JPMorgan Chase, First Bank of Wyoming, State Bank, Commerce Bank of Wyoming, RSNB Bank and Rocky Mountain Power. Seed funding awards were determined by local judges Cody Bateman, CEO and director of State Bank; David Caplan, director of communications for Genesis Alkali; Rick Dalgarno, principal application engineer for Markforged; Rocco O’Neill, director of community and economic development for the city of Evanston; and Robin Sessions Cooley, director of the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services. 

Additionally, two $500 awards were determined by audience voting. Meridical Health Solutions won the Audience Choice Award, which was presented by Commerce Bank of Wyoming. Wild Sage Market won the Job Creator Award, which State Bank presented. 

Melissa Atkinson, a business teacher at Green River High School, took several students on a field trip to watch the SCIL Pitch Night event live. To view the Pitch Night recording, go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=eSam1bEO8S4.

IMPACT 307 is a statewide network of innovation-driven business incubators committed to growing and strengthening Wyoming’s entrepreneurial community by providing resources and support for founders to thrive.

For more information, call Monica Patten, IMPACT Sweetwater assistant director, at (307) 466-3963 or email monica.patten@uwyo.edu. Patten provides free mentorship to entrepreneurs.

The next SCIL application period is expected to open in April 2023. For more information, go to www.impact307.org/sweetwater-county.

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