Sweetwater County Start-Up Challenge Accepting Applicants

Published August 29, 2023

Sweetwater County entrepreneurs will have an opportunity to receive free business education and counseling and to compete for seed funding to start or accelerate their businesses.

The 2023 Sweetwater County Start-Up Challenge is accepting applications through Monday, Sept. 25. The online application takes 10-15 minutes to complete and can be accessed at www.impact307.org/sweetwater-challenge/.

The University of Wyoming’s IMPACT 307 and Western Wyoming Community College (Western) run the program. IMPACT 307 Assistant Director Monica Patten provides free business counseling. Seed funding is provided through local donations and is raised and held locally by Rick Lee, CEO of the Rock Springs Chamber of Commerce, and Chad Banks, manager of the Rock Springs Main Street/Urban Renewal Agency.

Sweetwater County Start-Up Challenge finalists will receive business counseling as they develop their pitches for a public Pitch Night competition in early December in Rock Springs.

Last year’s competition was known as the Sweetwater County Innovation Launchpad and resulted in six companies receiving $37,500 in seed funding. The seed fund size for this year is still being determined. Donors to this year’s competition include: RSNB, Industrial Services Inc., Dominion Energy, State Bank, Simplot, William H. Smith and Associates, and Commerce Bank.

For those interested in learning more about the program, question-and-answer sessions will occur after each of a series of free business education events. The events are open to the public and will be available as hybrid events.

Complete details, including links for virtual attendance, can be found at www.impact307.org/events.

Participation in the business education events is not required for entry to the Sweetwater County Start-Up Challenge. The current schedule is:

— Thursday, Aug. 31, noon (virtual): Lunch and Learn: Innovation.

— Wednesday, Sept. 6, noon (virtual): Lunch and Learn: Career Pivots Into Entrepreneurship.

— Thursday, Sept. 14, 5-9 p.m., Western, Green River, Room JWP: Enrich Wyoming Business Bootcamp. Registration is required.

— Monday, Sept. 18, noon (virtual): Lunch and Learn: Broke Academic to Billions Commercialized.

If participants have questions after an application is completed or would like to start free business counseling immediately, call Patten at (307) 466-3963 or email monica.patten@uwyo.edu.

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