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COBE Students at Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge

Fourteen teams of student entrepreneurs took home $100,000 in seed funding to bolster their businesses at the Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge (IEC) 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.

IEC founding director, Kent Neupert remarked that “The Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge provides a great opportunity for student entrepreneurs to turn their startup ideas into successful businesses. The competition provides mentoring, seed funding and networking that can make the difference for early-stage ventures. Last year’s winners have gone to launch to business, with one team reaching $1 million in sales this year.”

The College of Business and Economics was well represented in the competition. Thirty-three percent of the teams in the finals were COBE teams and 70 percent of Boise State teams in the finals were COBE teams.

The winner of the technology track was Shaw Mountain Technology. COBE MBA candidate, Joe Runyan was on the team along with Boise State alumni Andrew Armstrong and Aaron Smith.

The winner of the agriculture technology category was Hurd Tracker. The team included Sheena Coles, Jared Cooke, Kenny Locksmith, and Joshua Whitworth, all MBA candidates in the COBE Professional MBA program. The idea behind Hurd Tracker began as a class project.

The runner-up in the social impact track was TransitFox, with Sam Johnson and Cheyne Kolts, COBE Career Track MBA candidates. Their idea also began as a class project.

Four COBE teams turned class projects into business plans to enter the IEC competition and made it to the final round:

Wind2Water with Carson Heagen, Ashley Hulse and Tim Watkins — COBE entrepreneurship students. Wind2Water uses wind power to provide clean drinking water to developing rural areas.

NexStep, a non-profit, is made up of entrepreneurship students Caitlyn Kingston, Cecelia Morales Ascencio, Cristina Ortega Valle and Tyler Giesbrecht. NexStep provides college and career counseling to high schools students.

Rebound, a non-profit, with Jeremiah Patchin, Brandon Penn and Jessica Provost provides debt counseling to high school and college students.

Vert, with Colin Lesch, COBE entrepreneurship student, provides an incentive system to encourage the use of reusable shopping bags by consumers.