6 local businesses will vie for “Sweetwater Start-Up” seed funding


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November 14, 2023 — Press Release University of Wyoming Daily News

The Sweetwater County Start-Up Challenge is down to six finalist businesses that will compete for seed funding in a Pitch Night competition on Wednesday, December 6. The event will begin at 6 p.m. in Room 1302 at Western Wyoming Community College. The event is free to attend.

The Sweetwater County Start-Up Challenge is a competition for local entrepreneurs that provides valuable mentorship from IMPACT 307, a startup business development program of the University of Wyoming, and local professionals. It is a collaboration between UW’s IMPACT 307 and Western. The startup challenge is made possible by the U.S. Economic Development Administration, Rock Springs Chamber of Commerce, and Rock Springs Main Street/Urban Renewal Agency (URA). The second annual competition attracted 26 applicants.

The six Sweetwater County companies selected as finalists are:

— Apilloz, founded by Aaron Lobo, is an adjustable support, pain, and pressure relief pillow.

— Remi’s Clubhouse, founded by Debbie Stainbrook, is “a tail-waggin’ good doggy daycare.”

— Mr. Joe’s Hot Sauce, founded by Jean Joseph, is a Caribbean-style hot sauce that brings a balance of heat and flavor.

— Black Gold Jelly Co., founded by Jenefer Tynsky, uses locally sourced fruits and vegetables to create healthy syrups and sauces that can be used in baking, slow cooking, smoking, barbecuing, or as a salad dressing.


— Gainesha, founded by Levi Abrahamson, connects landowners with potential short-term renters, maximizing earning potential and increasing public access to private lands.

— Purely Persistent, founded by Michelle Schutten, is an online resource providing academic lessons, life skills, and motivation for students preparing for high school equivalency tests. For more information.

Seed funding was made possible by UW’s Research and Economic Development Division, RSNB Bank, Dominion Energy, Industrial Services Inc., State Bank, Simplot, William H. Smith and Associates, Commerce Bank, All West Communications, First Bank, GRoWYO, and Copier & Supply Company.

The Rock Springs URA is also collecting community donations for the seed funds.