Boise Young Professionals (BYP), a program of the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce, kicks off the third season of its successful and widely-popular b|launched program on Tuesday, January 7, 2014 at the Water Cooler, located at 1401 W. Idaho Street, Boise. b|launched is presented by Perkins Coie, St. Luke’s, and Eide Bailly and supported by Drake Cooper, BVEP, and Chicago Connection.
Led by well-known, local business mentors, b|launched began in 2011 and is a one of a kind, comprehensive start-up competition that is designed to connect Boise’s young, professional talent with experienced entrepreneurs to encourage idea development and create companies. The first phase of the program involves finding and fleshing out a viable idea, researching the industry, and preparing a presentation. The second phase entails developing a prototype and testing the market. b|launched has resulted in the launch of four companies, including BeFree Village, CraySay, Follow & Fund, and ADvailable.
The b|launched 3.0 competition will feature four teams, comprised of two mentors and up to seven 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.
The idea behind the b|launched program is to teach young professionals how to start companies and specifically expand their knowledge base in the area of start-up and development. The program hopes to create at least one to two new start-up companies per year.
“B|launched is a unique program that provides our talented young professionals with the necessary tools to start companies. It’s an innovative program with the ultimate goal of creating more jobs in our community. It’s gratifying to see that organizations like the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce and BYP are cultivating this entrepreneurial activity in our community,” said Boise entrepreneur and mentor Faisal Shah.
“It’s important to develop economic activity in our community from the best and brightest among young professionals. This program really teaches them firsthand how to start companies,” said Bill Connors, President and CEO of the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce.
This year, the program will incorporate several new elements including a pool of advisors, a six-part workshop series that outlines various topics of 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.
The 2014 mentors are:
David Gabrieli, Management Consulting
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
B|launched Jr. is a condensed version of the b|launched program that will allow high school students to mirror the b|launched teams. Four teams from area high schools (Timberline, Bishop Kelly, Boise High, and Centennial) have been formed to compete against each other. The student teams have advisors and mentors to assist in idea development and the presentation. The b|launched Jr. teams will be competing for $5,000 in scholarship funds, sponsored by the College of Western Idaho. Judging for b|launched will take place Thursday, April 17, 2014, Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce, 250 S. Fifth St., Suite 300, Boise and will be closed to the public. Judging for b|launched Jr. will take place on Tuesday, April 22, 2014 5:30-7:30pm at the Idaho Water Center at 322 E. Front Street, Boise and will be open to the public.