Eight participants of the spring Start Up Intensive — entrepreneurs with experience from all walks of life — gave their final presentations Thursday on the businesses they’ve been working laboriously to perfect.
The last part of the Silicon Couloir and Central Wyoming College-Jackson program that squeezes the skills taught in an 18-month MBA into 10 weeks was also the first time many had presented their visions before an audience. Spectators included friends, family and businesspeople who could offer critiques and encouragement.
Michael Lofquist kicked off the presentations with his app software business, Node7. He was followed by Mori Bergmeyer, who spoke about his business TetraHelix, for which he designs staircases based on ancient tetrahedral geometry.
His concept first occurred to him when he was teaching at Harvard University, but he only recently took the leap to developing the idea into a full-fledged business.
Derek Farney’s Top Water Development combines his love of nature and computer science by focusing on custom software targeted at environmental conservation companies.
“This is more than just a paycheck for me,” he said. “It’s about doing something that I love.”
Nick Krauss is the owner of neurofeedback healing practice Neuralogic. Krauss, a goalie for the Jackson Hole Moose Hockey team, discovered what it’s like to recover from an injury when he sustained one himself a few years ago. He wanted to develop a better way to heal using psychophysiology — a branch of neuroscience dedicated to understanding how a person’s mental state and physiological responses affect one another.
“Diving into every aspect of business, you can really see the potential, especially in Jackson, and the need,” Krauss said. “Getting down to the why you’re doing it is one of the most important things that we really learned.”
Linguist and educator Eliska Garcia strives to bridge the language gap in Jackson, both on a professional and personal level, through her BeneLingua Language School.
“When you don’t speak the same language, no one will really see you or acknowledge your existence very much,” she said. “The power of language has the ability to change the lives of individuals and communities for the better.”
In addition to providing language classes, Garcia hopes to start a club where people of diverse language backgrounds can network and establish mentor-mentee relationships. She wants to celebrate with an International Picnic in the Park in September.
Rachel Ravitz has been practicing architecture in Jackson for 15 years. Through esteAm Architecture, she hopes to bring scientific concepts into art and architecture.
Ciela Wynter wants to redefine what it means be well with Joan of Sparc. This multimedia company and inner lifestyle brand would use retreats, educational web seminars and podcasts to provide virtual coaching services.
American Wilderness Botanicals, the brainchild of entrepreneur Ben Clark, uses techniques derived from Native American plant medicine to extract and market essential oils from local flora.
Start Up Intensive co-founder Sandy Hessler said that what sets the Startup Intensive apart from other business education experiences is the dedication to promoting self-analysis and self-inquiry among its students — making them come up with their own definitions of what it means to be successful and working to achieve that goal.
“If anyone wants to go on a journey of both self-exploration and how to turn those skills and desires into working for yourself and building the kind of business and life you want, we hope you’ll come and talk to us,” she said.
Information about the fall 2017 program will soon be available at SiliconCouloir.com.