Wind River Startup Challenge hosts kick-off and information party

(Wind River Reservation, WY) — Have you been wanting to start your own business or learn about how to become an entrepreneur? Come to the Wind River Startup Challenge kick-off party on October 29, 2022 from 3 – 5pm at the Frank B. Wise Building in Fort Washakie to learn how you can get the support to jumpstart your business. Free drinks and food will be provided by Hannah Nicol and The Monahooboo Hut. 

The event will feature presentations from past participants and Wind River Startup Challenge winners, speeches from program organizers and supporters, will answer questions about the program, and will review application details and how to apply. Participants in the Wind River Startup Challenge must be an enrolled Northern Arapaho or Eastern Shoshone, or teams must be at least 50% owned, operated, or led by a Tribal member. 

Learn more at: www.windriverstartupchallenge.com

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In partnership with the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes, the Wind River Startup Challenge (WRSC) seeks to stimulate entrepreneurship on the Wind River Reservation and provide the opportunity for tribal members to acquire funding to launch native-owned businesses. Now completing its third year, the WRSC began as a joint endeavor of the National Science Foundation’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) and the University of Wyoming Office for Research and Economic Development. Learn more about these partners and programs below. 

To date, 14 Native-led business ventures have been supported through the WRSC with $105,000 of seed funding awarded: 

  • Brittney’s Baristas by Brittney Niedo
  • Native Precision by Shay Jimerson
  • Ootsie Ohant by Jessica Swallow
  • Tree Keepers by Jaren Brown and Ryan Axthelm
  • Goose’s Kitchen by Leslie Spoonhunter
  • Dancing Rain Consulting by Harmony Spoonhunter
  • Timber Beast by Eugene Coulston
  • Native FX by Eustace Day
  • The Monahooboo Hut by Hannah Nicol
  • Wildflower Salon by Stephanie C’Hair
  • Heavy Hand Fencing by Kevin Goggles
  • Red’s Recon by Red and LaTara LeBeau
  • Intertribal Wellness by Denyse Bergie and Mike Ute
  • Taylor B’s T’s by Taylor Bell

The WRSC has just secured five years of funding thanks to the generous support of EPSCoR. The 2023 program will offer participants eight workshops to develop business skills and acumen, three months of one on one business coaching, multiple networking events, regional media opportunities, and access to a seed funding pool for those who qualify to present at an in person Pitch Day event. 

To learn more about the Wind River Startup Challenge visit www.windriverstartupchallenge.com or attend the event on October 29, 2022 at 3pm. For any questions or comments, or if you would like to be involved but are unable to attend, contact Crista Valentino at [email protected] or (307) 363-2791.

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About the Wind River Startup Challenge:

The Wind River Start-Up Challenge (WRSC) began as a joint endeavor of the National Science Foundation’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) and the University of Wyoming Office for Research and Economic Development. The Wind River Start-Up Challenge is for new ventures created and managed by tribal members and includes new ventures launched by licensing university technology. Tribal members are expected to have a primary role in developing the business and must intend to operate the business in the Wind River Community Area. For its first three years, WRSC has been a collaboration between Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribal members, Central Wyoming College, the Wind River Development Fund, and several University of Wyoming units: IMPACT 307, the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), Wyoming EPSCoR, and the High Plains American Indian Research Institute (HPAIRI). Funding for this challenge comes from National Science Foundation-funded Wyoming EPSCoR, a grant from Wells Fargo’s Open for Business program, and Microsoft.

About the National Science Foundation’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research:

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Wyoming EPSCoR is a program funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support researchers, students, and institutions in Wyoming by building a robust and diverse research education infrastructure in the state while supporting and facilitating pathways to STEM.

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