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Visit Casper gets 27 pitches for Business Challenge; pot increases to $50,000

(Dan Cepeda, Shutterstock)

CASPER, Wyo. — A late surge of entrants to the Visit Casper Business Challenge brought the total number of pitches to 27 by last Friday’s deadline, according to Visit Casper Marketing Manager Amanda Scherlin.

The challenge, supported by federal CARES funds, called on Natrona County residents to submit new or existing business proposals to drive growth in the tourism and hospitality industries.

With the robust turnout and availability of CARES funds, the Visit Casper board on Monday agreed to increase the pot of seed money from $25,000 to $50,000.

“If we don’t use this CARES Act money, we’ll have to send it back to the state,” said board member Brad Murphy, general manager of the Ford Wyoming Center.

“These are dollars that are doing exactly what they are intended to do, which is stimulate that part of our economy,” said Visit Casper CEO Brook Kaufman.

Kaufman said the pot could be distributed to one of several of the five finalists. Those finalists will be selected from a field of 10 semifinalists by a six-judge panel on October 6. The final pitch night will be on a Thursday in mid-November (11 or 18).

Kaufman said the applicants represent a range of “service provider” and “infrastructure support” proposals. Scherlin said there was an even split of new and existing businesses. None are food trucks.

All seed money will be awarded by December 20, 2021.