Startup challenge taking applications; business boot camp this Friday

October 16, 2023

In a couple of months, Gillette entrepreneurs will get the chance to pitch their business ideas to a panel of judges.

Applications for the Energy Capital Startup Challenge are open now and will go through Nov. 2.

Dana Miller, a member of the board of directors for Energy Capital Economic Development, said the Startup Challenge is free to enter, and it’s open to everyone, regardless of where they are in the process.

“It could be anywhere from just an idea to they’ve already created a prototype or started selling, there’s really no restriction,” she said.

The challenge is open to anyone in Campbell, Crook or Weston counties, and the only limit is that the entrepreneur’s business must have had less than $150,000 in revenue last year. There is no entry fee for the event.

The application contains some basic questions that will enable description of the business or idea, the target market, competition, potential customer validation activities, and how the idea, product or service will acquire a following and be on the path to success.

All applications will be reviewed by the judging panel, and the top 10 applications will go through a semifinal review process that will include a brief presentation and Q&A time with the judges.

Top applicants out of the semifinals will become Finalists and progress to the Pitch Night event at Gillette College on Dec. 1, where finalists will have 30 minutes to make their pitch to the judges in front of a live audience. Three winners will be named and will be able to draw from a seed fund.

To apply, visit Applications will be accepted through 11:59 p.m. Nov. 2.

Business Boot camp

This week, local entrepreneurs have a chance to learn about the resources that are available to them at a business boot camp that’s being held at Area 59 all day Friday.

The cost to register is $25, and lunch is included in the event, which will go from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The event will include several presentations on the basics of business.

PJ Burns from the Small Business Development Center will be there to talk about resources that she offers. Other topics include social media and marketing, and Antoinette Tease, a patent attorney from Billings, Montana, will be doing a presentation on intellectual property and patents.

To register, visit

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