Two dozen startup companies compete for Startup Omaha Week prize money

The event is promoted by the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce
Omaha Startup Week is pitting some of the city's top companies against each other for a large cash prize.
Published: Sep. 25, 2023 at 4:14 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A total of 24 Omaha startups are competing for a $25,000 cash prize.

“Startup Omaha Week” is promoted by the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce. It partnered with a law firm, Husch Blackwell, to award prize money.

The businesses are diverse, from tech startups and apps to apparel and retail, but what they have in common is they are Nebraska natives and envision the money awarded Monday will make its way back to the local economy.

One of the founders hoping to win is Andrew Prystai. He created an app called Vesta for people to find events in Omaha.

“You can swipe right to save an event for later if you want to go to it. Swipe left if you’re not interested,” said Prystai. “And over time we use that to find the perfect events for you.”

Marissa Whalen is hoping to win the money for her women’s activewear companies, Little Movements Apparel and Core Movements.

“I love people. I love being around people. And I love solving problems for people,” she said.

Her latest idea solves a common problem women encounter with activewear: keeping track of removable cups in sports bras. Last year, her 88 sports bras sold out in 22 seconds she said. Whalen hopes if she wins the money, she can bring it back to the Omaha community.

“We were able to find four local women who are going to sew and produce our next prototype, so these four women are going to be local women from Omaha creating the 250 bras and the matching leggings for the next launch.”

Laurel Oetken, one of the lead organizers for Startup Omaha Week has worked with hundreds of startups in her career. Formerly with the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce and now the executive director of Tech Nebraska, she said the prize money can go a long way.

“For some companies, $25,000 can be what keeps the lights on or it can be what fuels their business to continue to grow and accelerate,” she said.

The schedule for the rest of the events and how to register can be found online.