CI+D Student Stories – Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge

Meet Sadie Crenshaw & Kristen Richardson!

Sadie Crenshaw (left) is the Marketing Manager, and Kristen Richardson (right) is the Co Director of Belong & Brew. They participated in the 2019 Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge and for this week’s #CIDstories, they’re here to speak a bit about their experience, as well as tell us about how you can continue to provide incredible entrepreneurial opportunities to students like them through #broncogivingday, coming up Thursday, September 12, 2019.

First, we just have to know. What is Belong & Brew?

“Belong & Brew is a coffee shop that employs people with disabilities. We want to inspire people to realize their abilities, and to foster an environment that values inclusion. With every cup of coffee, we hope to create opportunities and change perspectives. We were in the top 24 of 200 applicants, giving us the opportunity to take place in the Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge. We took the top award in tabling and came away from the experience with a large number of connections and support for our venture!”

By being part of the College of Business and Economics, Kristen was encouraged to enter her idea into the Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge while taking an entrepreneurship class instructed by Prof. Bastian Thomsen.

“We had to create a 1 minute video detailing the mission of Belong & Brew just to get our entry off the ground. Next was an in-depth business plan detailing the steps we had taken in the venture so far, and the roles of each member of our team. After being accepted to the IEC, however, the real work started as we needed to create a presentation that detailed the ins and outs of our idea.”

That seems like a really quick turnaround from idea to pitch! What were some tools on campus that helped you?

“Professor Thomsen was a huge help, and the judges from the IEC connected us to a mentor-coach from Jack’s Urban Meeting Place who gave us feedback on the pitch, as well as a run-through with Ryan Vasso of the Venture College. Resources on campus were always just an e-mail away.”

What were the benefits of such a condensed experience such as the IEC?

“It puts the pressure on and makes you get your stuff together. With no room for procrastination, we really had to get our ducks in a row quickly. It makes you think more about your idea than you ever would have before, and even when practicing the pitch, we were able to look into our venture and question possible weak spots early. Instead of iterations over months, it was iterations over days.”

Why would you recommend the IEC or Venture College?

“At the Venture College there are incredible people who genuinely want to help you in your business venture. From idea to execution, they wanted to be a part of it, and had the resources to help you while walking alongside you. We wish we had gotten involved even earlier! As far as the IEC goes, because it gave us a platform to share our idea and test it out with the public, we received great feedback from people in the industries who could give us good perspectives. Although we didn’t win, we came away with far more connections than we could have asked for. Even after the challenge, judges and others would reach out telling us that they are available for anything we needed which was really cool.”

Finally, with Bronco Giving Day coming up, can you tell us why you it’s so important for the student experience?

“We love that it can help fund the Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge and support students who have aspirations to open their own businesses while continuing to build the entrepreneurial spirit in Boise.”

Bronco Giving Day is Thursday, September 12. To support the College of Innovation + Design, Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge, and more, check out https://broncosgive.boisestate.edu/giving-day/11987/department/11995