General Overview

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. Now in its third year, WRSC is being supported through private funds. In partnership with the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes, this Challenge seeks to stimulate entrepreneurship on the Wind River Reservation and provide the opportunity for tribal members to acquire funding to launch businesses. The competition will identify teams to become eligible to apply to a seed fund.

The Wind River Start-Up Challenge is being administered through IMPACT 307, a state-chartered development program and business incubator located on the UW campus. All finalists will be advised and coached through the full process of building a viable business concept. IMPACT 307 provides full business life-cycle advising and coaching through experienced staff with backgrounds in varied fields including software, electronic hardware, capital equipment, industrial chemicals and processes, finance, and sales. All Wind River Start-Up Challenge finalists will be required to participate in advising and coaching sessions to prepare for the final Pitch Day event.

Eligibility Details

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 a primary role in developing the business and must intend to operate the business in the Wind River Community Area.

  • Applications must be for seed, startup, or early stage companies.
  • Submissions may be entered by individuals or teams (up to 5 members).
  • Each team may only enter one idea.
  • A single individual cannot be the sole qualifying individual for two teams.
  • Team must have tribal member as principal, otherwise team can be made up of any individuals.
  • Final approval of eligibility is reserved for the judging committee.

The Wind River Start-Up Challenge is for new, independent businesses in the seed, startup, or early growth stages. All business concepts will be considered. Generally excluded are the following: buy-outs, expansions of existing companies, real estate syndications, franchises, licensing agreements for distribution in a different geographical area, and spin-outs from existing companies.

Entry fees: The Wind River Start-Up Challenge has no entry fee.

General Guidelines for Submitting a Concept

All initial submissions to the Wind River Start-Up Challenge shall be received online using the standard application found at: No other supporting documentation outside of the requirements stated is required.

Submission Deadlines: All submission deadlines are final. Late applications cannot be accepted.

Following advising with an assigned business counselor, Semi-Finalists will be required to participate in a 30-minute-maximum presentation and interview that addresses:

  1. A brief Problem Statement, and your proposed Solution.
  2. A brief description, picture, flow chart, or drawing defining your product concept and its unique features and benefits,
  3. A description of your target customer, a description of the overall market, and an estimate of both overall and target market size in dollars.
  4. A brief description of existing competition and/or solution options (e.g., competing products and features).

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