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Youssef Ben Ameur’s Journey from Venture College to TEDx Stage

Youssef Ben Ameur, a dedicated student at Boise State University, is making waves both in academia and the entrepreneurial ecosystem as he navigates the realms of business development and startup innovation. Ben Ameur is currently doing an exchange year at Boise State University while pursuing his studies in Business Administration at the Tunis Business School in Tunisia.


Ben Ameur’s journey to success is marked by his active involvement in the Venture College programs at Boise State University. His participation in various initiatives, including the Cybersecurity Entrepreneur Challenge (CEC), Hacking for Homebuilding Competition, the National Science Foundation I-Corps Cohort, and the Incubator, have been instrumental in shaping his entrepreneurial success. Notably, he placed first in the Cybersecurity Entrepreneur Challenge in Fall of 2023 at Boise Entrepreneur Week, with his tech-driven idea, Protecto. 

Youssef standing with Judges with his prize check award

He attended the Seed to Growth Conference in 2023, among several other Venture College and College of Business and Economic students, where they connected with like-minded entrepreneurs and investors in fostering entrepreneurial opportunities and venture investment in the mountain west region. Ben Ameur remarked after the conference that “It provided invaluable exposure to the startup ecosystem in the USA and allowed me to start building a professional network.”

Ben Ameur founded Protecto last fall when he developed the idea to compete in the Cybersecurity Entrepreneur Challenge. His idea, Protecto, is a Google extension that makes it easy for users to detect scams and online fraud activities – a solution crucial in today’s digitally interconnected world. Ben Ameur has been actively working on customer discovery, developing his minimal viable product (MVP), and working to understand the best revenue streams. His next steps are to build the technology portions of the MVP and then test the prototype on end users and potential customers. To this point, he’s been awarded $750 from winning the CEC pitch competition, along with a $3,000 stipend from completing the NSF ICorp program. 

“For students looking to build and grow a business idea, I highly recommend starting by participating in the Venture College Incubator program. This program provides invaluable support in developing various aspects of their business idea, including the customer discovery process, building and testing an MVP and developing a comprehensive, scalable Business Model Canvas (BMC). Over the course of 8 weeks, participants receive feedback and guidance to help refine their ideas and move them closer to success. It’s an excellent opportunity to gain practical experience and access resources essential for entrepreneurial ventures,” Ben Ameur emphasized. 


Beyond the walls of academia, Ben Ameur’s entrepreneurial journey took an inspiring turn when he was selected to deliver a TEDx talk, marking the first TEDx event in Boise since 2017 post-covid. Through this platform, Ben Ameur shared his vision of harnessing the power of cross-cultural exchange to foster innovation and growth. He encouraged individuals to “Be the change” and step out of their comfort zones, inspiring audiences both locally and globally. 

This opportunity came to pass through the connections and interactions he had at Boise Entrepreneur Week in Fall of 2023. Ben Ameur connected with Tami Hymas, and entrepreneur and TEDx speaker who was in the audience. She went on to connect him with her TEDx coach, Maija Liisaa Adams, the founder and CEO of Maija-Liisa Speaks, who guided and supported Ben Ameur throughout the whole process. 

When speaking on his experience, Ben Ameur shared, “Becoming a TEDx Speaker has been a lifelong dream, and I can attest that the experience was incredibly valuable. It taught me how to articulate my ideas clearly, simply, and concisely. One interesting aspect of my journey was realizing the value of seemingly small anecdotes or life experiences. For instance, something as mundane as learning to cross the street on my first day in the USA turned out to be a story worth sharing on the official TEDx YouTube channel.”

Youssef Ben Ameur standing with an X from TEDx

Looking ahead, Ben Ameur remains steadfast in his commitment to business development and furthering his startup. With upcoming competitions such as the Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge, Hackfort Tech Challenge, and the Spring Cybersecurity Entrepreneur Challenge Pitch Competition, Ben Ameur is ready to take Protecto to the next level. 

In reflecting on his entrepreneurial journey at Boise State University, Ben Ameur shares profound insights from his experiences:

  • Guessing is your worst enemy; test assumptions rather than relying on guesswork.
  • Succinctly describe your business idea in one sentence. 
  • Pitch your ideas concisely and clearly within a short timeframe. 
  • Be open to pivots and accept feedback, even if it’s harsh. 
  • Confidence is key in pitching; be assertive, engage with your audience, and speak up.

Ben Ameur’s journey serves as inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs, underscoring the transformative power of perseverance, innovation, and a relentless pursuit of one’s dreams. As he continues to chart new territories and redefine the boundaries of success, Ben Ameur stands as a testament to the boundless possibilities that await those bold enough to chase them.