Wyoming Young Entrepreneur Pitch Challenge

YOU are being called upon to shape Wyoming’s future. ARE YOU UP FOR THE CHALLENGE?

You understand that Wyoming is changing. You witness this every day. You are Wyoming’s most important natural resource. Think of a business innovation or social solution that could make a difference to your community or to Wyoming. It can be a product, service, social enterprise or tech business. The Summer 2020 Pitch Challenge is now closed but you can use the following modules to mold your entrepreneurial idea into a confident pitch.

Summer 2020 Pitch Challenge Winners

We believe that Wyoming’s most important natural resource is our young people. Please help us to recognize a few of these extraordinary gems in honor of the Wyoming Young Entrepreneur Pitch Challenge. These young people are problem solvers and innovators for Wyoming’s future!

10-14 Age Group:

  • 1st Place (Tie): Audrey Hendricks: Moon, Farson
  • 1st Place (Tie): Kayleigh Lund: webRite, Lyman

15-17 Age Group

  • 1st Place (Tie): Carson Rabou: Rabros, Albin
  • 1st Place (Tie): Holly Draney: A Girl and Her Horse, Auburn

Thanks to Hilltop Bank and the 4-H Foundation for stepping up as sponsors. Their support will allow us to provide further seed funding as young entrepreneurs continue to develop their projects. The activities and competition are the result of a broad partnership with the University of Wyoming, Impact 307, Wyoming 4-H, the Wyoming Business Alliance, afterschool organizations statewide, and many volunteers. This effort is made possible through a grant to the Wyoming Afterschool Alliance from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, which includes support for technical assistance from the Young Entrepreneur Institute and VentureLab. The grant is intended to promote innovation and an entrepreneurial mindset for youth in Wyoming. Special thanks to the three community leaders who served as judges for the contest, President and CEO of the Wyoming Community Foundation Craig Showalter, Central Wyoming College Instructor of Business Kyle Trumble, and CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Douglas Michele Carter.

A Message from Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon

Governor Gordon encourages Wyoming youth to participate in the Wyoming Young Entrepreneur Pitch Challenge. He commented, “Rarely do we have the opportunity to be part of history and make a difference. I want to encourage you because the work you will do, the ideas you have, the entrepreneurship you display, will make a huge difference in our state.”

Our Modules

Module 1: How do you identify the problem?

  • Identifying the Problem: In this video, our team introduces the idea of identifying and understanding problems in Wyoming. Click here.
  • Talking to Potential Customers: In this video, our team discusses ways you can talk to potential customers and understand their perspectives. Click here.
  • Wacky Inventions: It’s time to play along! Our team looks at new uses for regular objects in this video. Find two items close to you and think of new ways they could be used. Let your creativity shine! Click here.
  • Customer Journey Map: One way to develop more empathy with — and gain new insights about — your customers is to look beyond the narrow definition of your offering and consider the customer’s total experience. The more broadly you define the customer experience, the more opportunities you can identify for improvement. Download the instructions, click here.

Module 2: What’s your solution?

  • Identify & Create Solutions: Entrepreneurs imagine what COULD be. Join UW Host Heather Heath to explore ways to identify and create solutions. Young entrepreneur and founder of Square Top Designs Diesel Vrska is a featured guest (see his video below). Remember, your perspective is unique! Click here.
  • So What? Customers don’t buy features, they buy benefits! Use the “So What” template to practice this thought process. Grab a few items from around your home to get started. Bring your personal experience to flex your creativity muscles. Click here.
  • Combo Chatter: Learn how to use activities to generate ideas with this fun exercise. Download the instructions, click here.
  • Observation Walk: Join our friend Scott Mann from VentureLab for an Observation Walk to explore problems and opportunities. The more that you practice, the more ideas are going to come to you! Click here.

Module 3: Who’s your audience?

  • Identify and Connect to Your Customers: In this video, UW Host Heather Heath explores ways entrepreneurs connect with customers. She speaks with Lindsey McCoy of Crave Nutrition, RD in Cheyenne and Luke Knudson of The Old General Store Antiques in Sheridan. Remember, empathy is essential! Click here.
  • Pain/Gain Exercise: Now, complete this exercise to draw out the most important characteristics of your customer. Download the PDF.
  • Primary & Secondary Market Research of Your Customer: Researching your customers might include speaking with potential customers or analyzing already existing data. In this video, UW Host Heather Heath speaks with Lindsey McCoy of Crave Nutrition, RD in Cheyenne and Luke Knudson of The Old General Store Antiques in Sheridan to understand how they use market research in their businesses. Click here.
  • A Day In The Life Exercise: Now, complete this exercises to help you understand more aspects and key points of your target customer. Download the PDF.

#PitchWyoming EXTRA CREDIT!

  • Q&A with Scott from VentureLab: In this video, Wyoming Young Entrepreneur Pitch Challenge participants (Ben, Kayleigh, Maui, and Sam) join WYAA team members (Heather Heath and Joan Evans) to talk with Scott Mann from VentureLab about their business ideas and challenges. Click here.
  • Wacky Inventions Take 2 with Scott from VentureLab: In this video, the Pitch Challenge participants (Ben, Kayleigh, Maui, and Sam) join WYAA team members (Heather Heath and Joan Evens) to play Wacky Inventions. This game helps entrepreneurs to look at items in new ways to spark fresh ideas. Click here.

Module 4: Who’s your competition? 

  • Identify Your Competition: In this video, UW Host Heather Heath explores ways entrepreneurs can identify their competition. She speaks with Kyrie Blaney of Build Mothers, Build the World and Carson Rabou of Rabros. Click here.
  • Favorite Cookie Exercise: Now, complete this activity to practice how to devise and identify the unique competitive advantages of your product, and in this case, your favorite cookie. Click here.

Module 5: How will you make money?

  • Selling Your Product: In this video, UW Host Heather Heath explores sales, business models, and revenue models. She reminds us that mistakes and failures offer opportunities to make improvements! She is joined by Alicia Bretzman with Piney Island Native Plants and Sara Von Krosigk with Hatch & Handle. Click here.
  • Revenue Model Examples: This resource will help you understand revenue models from Transaction Revenue (a one-time sale like clothing at American Eagle) to Service Revenue (the sale of a service like a haircut at your local barbershop). Click here.
  • Business Model Template: Use this template to develop your own business model. You’ll be better prepared to pitch your product or service to others and to be successful in your business. Click here.
  • Advertising Challenge: Complete this activity to help you learn how to communicate the most important information of your business model that will make customers want to buy your product or service. Click here.

Module 6: How do you pitch your idea?

  • How to Pitch Your Idea: In our final video, UW Host Heather Heath walks through the checklist for making an effective pitch. It takes courage to accomplish great things, but practice will help you succeed! Kyrie Blaney from Build Mothers, Build the World rejoins Heather to share her experience pitching for the John P. Ellbogen $50K Competition at the University of Wyoming. You’ve put a lot of work into your product or service and it’s time to put it all together! Ready. Set. Pitch! Click here.
  • Body Language Game: Confident body language and speaking in a loud and excited tone of voice helps all entrepreneurs appear more confident, even if they are really nervous about presenting their business idea. Try out the Body Language Game to practice. The document lists a few prompts, including angry, surprised, and confused. Can you come up with more? Click here.
  • Fill-in-the-Blank Template: Use this template to get started with your pitch. It will help you to remember to include the most important things, including the problem you’re trying to solve, your competitive advantage, and the value of the product/service. Click here.
  • Pitch Checklist: Download this handout from Young Entrepreneur Institute (YEI). The checklist for filming video pitches and elevator pitch essentials will help you make the most of your 90-second opportunity to share your business idea. Click here.
  • Pitch Practice Q&A: Practice your pitch, ask questions, learn from your fellow participants, and get extra coaching! Entrepreneur Kyrie Blaney will join us on Thursday, July 23 at 2:00pm. Would you like the opportunity to learn from her? Please RSVP at zoom.us/meeting/register. We also plan to have open office hours on Thursday, July 30 from 10:00-11:00am, 4:00-5:00pm, and 6:00-7:00pm. Please join us when it’s convenient for you. We’d love to hear about your ideas and help you with your challenges. Email Kate Foster, katefoster@wycf.org, to get the Zoom link.

#PitchWyoming EXTRA CREDIT!

  • Tips & Tricks with Jessie from Young Entrepreneur Institute: In this video,Wyoming Young Entrepreneur Pitch Challenge participants learned about tips and tricks for recording the best pitch video. Click here.
  • How to Upload Your Pitch: Kelly and Matt from Young Entrepreneur Institute (YEI) walk through how to upload your pitch to the Reviewr Site. Click here.

Final Step: Make your pitch!

  • Make Your Pitch: Whether you’re entering an official pitch challenge or advocating for your idea on another platform, the final step is making your pitch with confidence. Good luck!

What is a Pitch Challenge?

UW Host Heather Heath and friends introduce the Wyoming Young Entrepreneur Pitch Challenge.

Need some inspiration? See this video from Diesel from Cora, Wyoming. He won the 4-H Sublette County Pitch Challenge when he was a 9-year old with his idea for Square Top Designs. Three years later, his business is going strong!

Our Partners

WYAA is pleased to be working with partners including Big Brothers Big Sisters of Wyoming, Boys & Girls Clubs. Junior Achievement, University of Wyoming, Venture Labs, Wyoming 4-H, Wyoming Business Alliance, Wyoming Technology Business Center, Young Entrepreneur Institute. Special thanks to the Governor’s Office for supporting the effort!

Rules and Eligibility 2020

Wyoming Young Entrepreneur Pitch Challenge is a contest for young people in Wyoming ages 10-22. It is a simple set of activities that help you learn creativity, problem solving, critical thinking, and presentation skills. To find the full rules and eligibility, click here


WYAA is communicating regularly with the Wyoming Young Entrepreneur Pitch Challenge participants. Registration is still open so you can catch up by reviewing our correspondence library.