About the Wind River Startup Challenge
The program offers free business training and mentorship to participants over six months, culminating with an in-person Pitch Day for those who complete the program requirements.
In partnership with the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes, the Wind River Startup Challenge (WRSC) is stimulating entrepreneurship on the Wind River Reservation and providing tribal and community members access to business training, an entrepreneurial network and access to seed funding to launch businesses.
WRSC Participants receive:
- 8 business skills capacity building workshops in January and February 2023, which are also free and open to the public
- Weekly one-on-one business coaching for all interested 2023 WRSC program participants
- Opportunity to pitch their business at Pitch Day, giving access to seed funding. Historically, participants receive between $5,000 – $20,000 in funding.
- Facilitated networking sessions with WRSC alumni, current WRSC participants and other Native entrepreneurs
- Region-wide media coverage
The Wind River Start-Up Challenge is for new ventures created and managed by tribal members and including new ventures launched by licensing university technology. Tribal members are expected to have at least 50% ownership and involvement in developing the business and must intend to operate the business in the Wind River Community Area.
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. For its first three years, the WRSC was facilitated by IMPACT 307, a state-chartered development program and business incubator located on the University of Wyoming campus. In 2022, the WRSC secured an additional five years of funding through a generous grant by EPSCoR.