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b|launched 3.0 3rd Year Business Start-Up Competition; New Junior Program for Area High Schools Announced

The Boise Young Professionals’ b|launched 3.0 competition is gearing up for its 3rd year, with the competition launching on January 7th, 2014. b|launched is a job creation and new business start-up initiative competition for young professionals. The program matches successful Boise entrepreneurs with approximately 30 talented, local, young professionals with the goal of creating at least two new start-up companies.

The b|launched 3.0 competition will feature four teams, comprised of two mentors and up to eight young professionals per team, diverse in skill and background, who will compete for initial funding to start a business. A minimum of $20,000 will be awarded to the 1st place team and $10,000 to the 2nd place team when the finalists are announced in April. All b|launched teams will have the opportunity to pitch for additional follow-on funding by the end of the year. The total funding amount is approaching $70,000, which has grown over $20,000 from last year.

“Of all the things that the Chamber does, b|launched is one of the programs of which we are most proud. This competition to launch two start-ups per series creates real commerce for our region and ensures that Boise’s entrepreneurial spirit will live on through another generation,” said Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Bill Connors.

This year, the program will incorporate several new elements, including new mentors, a new advisory group, a new six-part workshop series that outlines starting a business, expanded industry focus beyond technology companies, a congruent b|launched Jr. program with students competing from four area high schools, and the potential to secure capital through follow-on funding for the b|launched 3.0 teams. Also new is a scholarship fund for the first and second place b|launched Jr. teams in the amount of $5,000 provided by the College of Western Idaho.

Led by well-known, local business mentors, b|launched began in 2011 and has resulted in the launch of four companies, including BeFree Village, CraySay, Follow & Fund, and ADvailable. The b|launched program aims to teach young professionals how to start companies and expand their knowledge base in the area of developing start-ups. Since the completion of the second series, b|launched has trained over 100 young professionals in the art of creating start-ups.

"This unique program created by the Boise Young Professionals is doing exactly what it originally set out to do; providing young professionals with the critical tools they need to start companies and help our community create jobs," said entrepreneur and advisor Faisal Shah.

This year’s mentors include: Ron Baker, Rizen Creative; David Gardner, Electrical Wholesale Supply; Travis Hawkes, The Blue and Orange Store; Ken Holsinger, Klowd.com; Jefferson Jewel, The Caprock Group; Kristi Saucerman, AuctionFrogs.org; Aaron Stanton, Booklamp LLC, Mick Wiskerchen, entrepreneur.

Applications to participate in the program were due December 13, 2013. More information on the program can be found at www.boiseyp.org or www.blaunched.com  The program is presented by Perkins Coie, St. Luke’s and Eide Bailly and supported by Drake Cooper, BVEP and Chicago Connection.