Fourteen teams of intrepid student entrepreneurs took home $100,000 in seed funding to bolster their businesses at the Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge awards presentation April 1 at Trailhead in Boise.
All 22 colleges and universities in the Gem State were invited to participate in the Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge, a statewide venture competition that aims to stimulate entrepreneurship. Of the 75 competitors from around the state, 23 teams were selected as finalists. The program is directed by Boise State University’s College of Innovation and Design and College of Business and Economics, and sponsored by Zions Bank.
Teams earned seed funding in the categories of Health, Technology, Agriculture Technology and Social Impact. Each of the four first-place teams earned $13,000 for their innovations.
In the Health category, first place was awarded to Safeguard Equipment for their product AC-Sentry, a patentable wristband that alerts personnel working near high-voltage electricity of nearby energized surfaces and conductors. Team members are University of Idaho students Brandon Bledsoe and Tim Ledford.
Shaw Mountain Technology earned first place in the Technology category for its micropump for the pharmaceutical market. The Boise State University team includes Career Track MBA student, Joe Runyan, and other team members Aaron R. Smith and Andrew Armstrong.
Hurd Tracking earned first place in the Agriculture Technology category for their innovation that helps ranchers protect their livelihood by providing them knowledge of where their cattle are, when they need to know it most. The Boise State University team includes Sheena Coles, Joshua Whitworth, Kenneth Lock-Smith and Jared Cooke.
First-place honors were presented to Revival Outlet in the Social Impact category. The business collects used bicycle tires from bike shops and turns them into fashionable belts. Revival Outlet is led by BYU-Idaho students Emerson Hammer and Mitchell Taylor.
“We were enormously impressed by all of our competitors this year, and we look forward to watching the winning businesses grow and thrive with the help of the seed funding provided by the Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge,” said Mike Winder, director of Entrepreneurship Programs for Zions Bank. “Zions Bank is committed to enhancing Idaho’s entrepreneurial ecosystem because small businesses create jobs, strengthen our communities and make enormous contributions to the local economy.”
“With 75 ventures participating statewide, the Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge is proof that the entrepreneurial culture is alive and well at Idaho’s universities,” said Gordon Jones, dean of Boise State’s College of Innovation and Design. “These students are using their skills, insights, and drive to solve problems of local, state and global importance. I can’t wait to see the positive impact they have on Idaho and beyond.”
Following is a full list of the awards presented:
- 1st place: Safeguard Equipment, University of Idaho, $13,000
- 2nd place: GuardLock, University of Idaho, $7,500
- 3rd place: Vandal Ultraspeed, University of Idaho, $3,000
- 1st place: Shaw Mountain Technology, Boise State University, $13,000
- 2nd place: HydroGrip, University of Idaho, $7,500
- 3rd place: Talent Cloud, BYU-Idaho, $2,000
- 3rd place: Defkon Technology, Boise State University, $2,000
- 1st place: Hurd Tracking, Boise State University, $13,000
- 2nd place: The Feller Pump, University of Idaho, $7,500
- 3rd place: Agritak, University of Idaho, $3,000