Student entrepreneurs shared $100,000 in seed funds awarded March 31 through the Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge, a statewide venture competition that aims to stimulate entrepreneurship at the Gem State’s 22 colleges and universities. The IEC is directed by Boise State University’s College of Innovation and Design and College of Business and Economics, and sponsored by Zions Bank.
Style Her Empowered was awarded $15,000 in the social, cultural, or environmental impact track. This nonprofit aims to empower women and improve access to education by providing school uniforms and sewing training to young girls in developing countries.
Founded by University of Idaho’s Payton McGriff, the company will use its seed money to launch a pilot project this summer in Togo, Africa, providing school uniforms to 800 young girls.
WynderHUB, a quick tensioning system that tightens wire fences, earned first place and $15,000 in the agriculture and ag technology track. The Idaho State University team was founded by Naif Alghamdi, Colby Borup, Gary Day, EJ Lopez, Miguel Mata and Morgan Rasmussen. WynderHUB fixes the tension in sagging barbed wire fences in under two minutes.
In the technology, consumer product or service track, $15,000 was awarded to Silent Arrow, a biodegradable, heavy-payload, autonomous delivery unmanned aerial vehicle designed to inexpensively carry up to 750 pounds of supplies in support of humanitarian relief and military operations. It was developed by Brian Von Herbulis, a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps and student enrolled in Boise State’s Executive MBA program.
In the health and healthy living track, The Forever Shower was one of two honorees receiving $10,000. The Forever Shower is designed to conserve 21,000 gallons of water per year for a family of four while removing trihalomethanes, a chemical associated with childhood leukemia and other cancers. The Forever Shower was developed by University of Idaho’s Alex Boatman, Edward Hall, Maria Horta-Vorse and Chad Vorse.
In the health and healthy living track, Berry Box was one of two honorees receiving $10,000. Founded by Boise State University student Sydney Axtell, Berry Box is a customizable feminine hygiene product subscription service. The company plans an April launch and says it will contribute a portion of its profits to help provide hygiene products to women in need.
In addition to the seed money to help launch these student-founded companies, Zions Bank offered each of the finalists $300 and banking and networking support through its Elite Entrepreneur program.
“Entrepreneurship is a critical ingredient to a growing economy and a growing state and the Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge is the catalytic event that brings us all together,” says Gordon Jones, dean of the College of Innovation and Design at Boise State.