Finalists for WTBC Sheridan Start-Up Challenge Announced

Five finalists for the 2019 Sheridan Start-Up Challenge entrepreneur competition will compete for funds to get their business plans off the ground.

Sheridan’s Wyoming Technology Business Center (WTBC) business incubator sponsors the competition.

This year’s challenge attracted 39 applicants and many intriguing business plans and ideas, according to Scot Rendall, WTBC Sheridan director, who says the response to the challenge demonstrates significant interest in starting up new business ventures.

“We were pleased with both the number and quality of applications,” Rendall says. “Our challenge is beginning to take on regional appeal, with applicants this year from Sheridan, Johnson, Campbell and Weston counties.”

The WTBC is a business development program of the University of Wyoming. UW’s Office of Research and Economic Development administers the program.

The Sheridan Start-Up Challenge finalists, listed by company name and team members, are:

— MuscleShok Sport Therapy, Lisa Durgin and Sharon Jones, of Gillette. The company is a professionally designed line of muscle pain relief gels and bath soak solutions developed for performance athletes.

— Piney Island Native Plants, Alisha Bretzman, of Story. The company seeks to develop a native plant nursery to provide containerized, locally adapted native plant material for use in restoration projects in Wyoming and the central Rocky Mountain region.

— Purpose Physical Therapy, Marta Ostler, of Dayton. Ostler intends on starting a business to provide on-site preventative and treatment-based physical therapy and skin rehabilitation services to underserved rural patients in the Sheridan region.

— Recreational Sandals, Jared Koenig, of Sheridan. Koenig is the creator of a lightweight, breathable and shock-absorbing sandal concept that will provide comfort, durability and reliability for a variety of outdoor adventuring pursuits.

— WYO Candle Company, Dwight and Meg Stanislaw, of Sheridan. They are the creators of eco-friendly, Wyoming-branded, fine quality handcrafted candles produced in small batches and featuring rugged and elegant scents for the home décor consumer.

“This was, without a doubt, the highest quality pool of applicants in the three-year history of our event,” Rendall says. “I look forward to helping all applicants develop their business plans, launch and grow their businesses.”

The finalists will work with the WTBC and hone their business plans and presentations in preparation for Pitch Night at the WYO Theater Tuesday, Oct. 29. Pitch Night is free and open to the public.

Each finalist will make a presentation and will field questions from the panel of judges. The top three judge-selected entrepreneur plans each will receive a $5,000 award and access to additional working capital from a $50,000 seed fund, Rendall says. All finalists will receive incubator space, ongoing counseling and access to some professional services to aid in their business.

The Sheridan Start-Up Challenge is made possible through the support of Sheridan County, the city of Sheridan, the Wyoming Business Council, WIDC Frontier CDC, the Homer and Mildred Scott Foundation, First Interstate Bank and Davis and Cannon, LLP.

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