POCATELLO — Six teams from Idaho State University are finalists in the 2017 Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge.
Seventy student-led teams from universities across Idaho submitted their products and venture ideas to the competition, which is in its third year and is held at Boise State University.
Judges scored each entry and narrowed the field to 26 total finalists. Along with the six team finalists from ISU are teams from colleges such as Boise State, the University of Idaho and BYU-Idaho.
“They had to do a one-minute elevator pitch video for the judging panel to review, and then they had to do a five-page application,” said Dr. Jeff Street, director of the ISU’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, or CEED. “ISU has six of the 26 teams, so that’s a pretty good proportion of the finalists.”
Students from many different colleges at ISU submitted their ideas. Each team has received direction from CEED, and all have students from the College of Business.
An engineering and nursing program team submitted the idea of SpareSpace, a unique and innovative way for college students to store their belongings.
WynderHUB, which was designed by a business student, tightens wire fences owned by ranchers and farmers.
Smart Lawn was entered by a team of business students and exercise science students. Their idea catches water from rain and sprinklers and recycles it for nonpotable purposes.
Students from ISU’s chemistry and theater departments created Duality, a salon product that allows users to both color and perm their hair at the same time.
A team consisting of engineering and business students created a method for improving bicycle tires during their production.
Another team consists of ISU students Hassan Afzal, Amanda Gardner and Joss Stewart. They are developing a means to detect drug diversion — or the illegal distribution and abuse of prescription drugs intended for patient use — by health care professionals in health care settings.
“We were able to use creative ways to make ourselves stand out all the while bringing to the forefront a problem that is real,” Gardner said.
The competition has four categories, with $100,000 in seed funding that will be awarded to the teams who score the highest. Teams can win up to $13,000 that can go toward their venture.
The competition begins the morning of March 31 and ends in the evening. The teams will go through several presentations to convince the judges why their plans are good business ideas, why they’re sustainable and how they can benefit their communities.
Though it’s the first time ISU has had teams enter the competition, confidence is high that the university’s teams will be successful.
“We could have a lot of winners coming out of ISU,” said Dr. Dan Cravens, director of Bengal Solutions, which is a part of both ISU’s College of Business and CEED. “It could be a good win for the participants here in this contest and a lot of fun to see how they’ll spend that money being entrepreneurial here in the area. That would be exciting.”