(Riverton, WY) – The very first Fremont County Start-up Challenge came to a close with the final pitch happening last night, May 12th.
Four business ideas were pitched to a panel of five judges, who had the difficult decision to decide who would receive seed funding. The judges ultimately selected Eric Locker with Locker Cabinets, Alicia Rux with Cottonwood Wool, and Daniel Stewart with High Country Fungus. There was also an “Audience Choice Award” in which Dallin and Steve Cooper with Ugly Chews received $1,500.
The first to present last night was Eric Locker with Locker Cabinets. Eric purchased a CNC cutting machine and software to automate his kitchen and bathroom cabinet-making process. He plans to fill a local need for quality cabinets and add jobs at the same time.
The second presenter was Alicia Rux with Cottonwood Wool. Alicia will pelletize wool that’s not suitable for textile use and use it as a soil additive. Because of wool’s moisture retention qualities, a relatively small number of wool pellets will go a long way in allowing gardeners to use less water.
Daniel Stewart was next with his business idea for High Country Fungus. Utilizing his scientific background, he plans to grow sustainable packaging from mushrooms.
Finally, Dallin Cooper co-founder of Ugly Chews presented. He and his dad, Steve, manufacture all-natural beef hide dog chews, which utilize the animal byproducts that are otherwise normally thrown out.
The three overall winners, Eric, Alicia, and Daniel, will now work with IMPACT 307 and Brian Young, Assistant Director of IMPACT Fremont, to come up with a funding amount request for part of the $50k seed fund. The awarded amounts will be determined by the same judges and will be announced after they pitch to them again early next month.
“As with all companies we work with, we will continue to mentor them from the idea/concept phase all the way to full-scale launch (adding employees, customer growth, etc.) over the coming months and years,” Young said.