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Wind River Startup Challenge final presentations Saturday

Updated: May. 22, 2021 at 4:28 PM CDT
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FREMONT COUNTY, Wyo. (Press Release) -

Six finalists are set to pitch their businesses this Saturday, May 22, for a virtual audience and panel of judges.

The Wind River Startup Challenge (WRSC) is an opportunity for Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapahoe tribal members to pitch their business ideas in hopes of getting startup funding. WRSC is currently sponsored by Wyoming EPSCoR, a program funded through the National Science Foundation, and is a collaboration between the Wind River community, Central Wyoming College, the Small Business Development Center, and the University of Wyoming’s IMPACT 307.

Finalists were chosen from a broad pool of applicants in October and, with the help and support of business coaches, have developed their business models over the past eight months. Finalists will pitch their ideas on May 22nd in hopes of securing a portion of the $30,000 available in startup capital. While the final awards are competitive, the challenge is a cooperative effort to support entrepreneurs who aspire to take their businesses to new heights.

One of these finalists is Eustace Day, founder and CEO of Native FX Art & Designs, who says of his experience through the WRSC process,

The Wind River Start Up Challenge opened the doors for building a good foundation for Native FX to be successful, and to stand alone on and off the reservation. By applying all the structured elements learned by our Start Challenge mentors, I feel Native FX has more of a grasp to reach the world. The vision for Native FX is becoming a reality now more than ever before because of the startup challenge. Native Fx Art & Design bringing your Visions and Voice to Life.

The finalists pitching their business models on Saturday are:

Dancing Rain Consulting, founded by Harmony Spoonhunter, which seeks to create ease and convenience by digitizing records, creating websites, and providing data management for  tribal programs as well as other businesses.

Goose’s Kitchen, created by chef Leslie Spoonhunter, is a food truck displaying Spoonhunter’s culinary skills in creating indigenous dishes and which will feature a rotating menu.

Timber Beast, owned and operated by Eugene Coulston, is a company that produces local timber products.

Native FX Art and Design, launched by Eustace Day, produces a wide variety of custom art designs  that include T-shirts, logos, signs, and murals.

SEMAJ, devised by Bobbi Shongutsie and Austin Hill, will be a grower of high-value crops.

The Monahooboo Hut, conceived by Hannah Nicol, is a food trailer that specializes in chicken fried  steak.

Leslie Spoonhunter emphasized, “The Wind River Startup Challenge has made my dream of owning a business a reality!”

Kyle Trumble, a Central Wyoming College instructor and business counselor for the Wind River Startup Challenge states, “It has been an honor and privilege to work with the finalists this year.  I am amazed by the effort and enthusiasm that teams continue to display, and realize the hard work and dedication it takes to get to this point. Watching their ideas evolve over the past several months has been inspiring, and I am looking forward to this weekend.”

The event will be virtual and available to livestream on YouTube. Pitch day begins at 12:30 on May 22nd and pitches will begin at 1:00. To view Pitch Day, the YouTube link will be available mid-day Saturday on the Wind River Startup Challenge Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/windriverstartupchallenge), as well as at windriverstartupchallenge.com.

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