Pitch Day

Overview Coffee founder Alex Yoder presents his business to judges and a general audience last week during Pitch Day at the Center for the Arts.

Entrepreneurs pitch ideas

A Wilson company called Mia Share that provides custom tuition solutions for trade and technical schools won the judges’ vote and audience vote last week at Pitch Day, an annual Silicon Couloir competition for entrepreneurs.

Presented onstage by founder and CEO Josh Haghani, Mia Share took home $10,000 for the Panelist Choice Award, which goes to the company that judges believe has the most compelling idea and best chance of success.

People watching Pitch Day from seats at the Center for the Arts or via livestream voted for Audience Choice by text message. Mia Share’s prize for that was $5,000 plus a year of free use of the Cowork Space, Silicon Couloir’s communal workplace on Broadway.

Six entrepreneurs in all participated in Pitch Day, the 10th one held by Silicon Couloir, a nonprofit that nurtures entrepreneurship in the region.

WiddyUP, presented by CEO Carter Higley, is a digital platform that enables kids to use video clips showcasing their talents to drum up donations.

Taylor-Ann Smith founded Ride Force to make high-performance, comfortable mountain biking apparel for women of all sizes and tastes after seeing few options beyond too-tight, overtly girly jerseys. Bentley Wederski’s Utilitarian is a gender-neutral clothing brand that will launch this fall (see page 12C).

“Fashion is still binary, yet people are not,” he said.

Two businesses in the food and beverage space were each awarded the Bob Arndt Community Caretaker Award, which honors entrepreneurial efforts that tie in with a healthy environment and other Silicon Couloir values.

One was Kate Stoddard’s Orchestra Provisions, which makes protein powders, seasonings and therapeutics out of crickets, with a goal of supporting regenerative food systems and addressing global food security.

The other was Alex Yoder’s Overview Coffee, which sells specialty coffee grown using regenerative organic farming practices.

Each won $2,500, six months of free use of the Cowork Space and an invitation to join Silicon Couloir’s TEAMS mentoring program.

Restaurants earn Wine Spectator nods

Four of the six Wyoming winners of the 2021 Wine Spectator Restaurant Awards are in Jackson Hole.

Dornan’s Pizza and Pasta Company earned a “Best of Award of Excellence” rating, its fourth such nod since 2018. Joining it at that award level are The Cheyenne Club in Saratoga and The Prime Rib Restaurant in Gillette.

Earning an “Award of Excellence” for the first time was Figs Restaurant in Hotel Jackson. The Dining Room at Jenny Lake Lodge has held the Award of Excellence since 1998, and the Silver Dollar Grill has held that ranking since 2014.

Hilton welcomes pets

The hotel chain Hilton announced last week that it is teaming with Mars Petcare to “set a new standard for pet-friendly travel.” Pet-focused benefits and perks are rolling out now for most Hilton hotels, with the pet program at Homewood Suites by Hilton coming online by Jan. 1.

Pet fees will become consistent across the hotel chain, set at $50 per stay. That will give pet-toting travelers more than 500 hotels and 300 Homewood Suites locations to choose from. That’s more than 110,000 rooms across North America, with nearly 55,000 more rooms in development.

“Pets are an integral part of many of our guests’ families,” Bill Duncan, global head of All Suites and Focused Service brands, Hilton, said in a release. “Our Extended Stay brands offer a home away from home for travelers, and their pets, especially with our spacious accommodations.”

Jackson’s Homewood Suites by Hilton is part of a five-city pilot program where expert tips will be offered to help pets adjust to the new environment. Hotel guests will have access to Mars Petcare experts for health, wellness or behavioral questions that pop up during their stay. Other cities in the pilot program are Dallas, Miami, Nashville and Phoenix.

Jennifer Dorsey is chief copy editor for the News&Guide and one of the editors for local articles printed in the Jackson Hole Daily.

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