Six of the 10 University of Idaho student teams that pitched business proposals during the online Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge won a total of $31,000 in cash prizes, and among them was a student from Bonners Ferry.
Students demonstrated prototypes and technologies in education, agriculture, construction, sports and recreation and environmental and social ventures during the event hosted by Boise State University on April 2.
“Startup competitions are always challenging, but this one is against all the other colleges in Idaho, making it even more competitive,” said George Tanner, director of U of I’s Idaho Entrepreneurs.“ But our students work hard, research markets, test business models and develop winning pitches and successful business ideas.”
Simulations, a simulator combining digital environments and educational theory helping teachers develop classroom management skills, won first place and $7,000 in the Technology category. Team members were: Amy Huck, Caldwell, Idaho, Sydney Hartford, Newcastle, Washington, Riley Merithew, Kuna, Idaho, and Daniel Robinson, Bonners Ferry, College of Art and Architecture.
Team HONU, which developed a water circulation unit that eliminates algae, bad odors and insect breeding, won first place and $7,000 in the Social and Environmental category and the $7,000 Trolley Investment Group Award.
“$14,000 will have a huge impact on moving our product forward,” said Team HONU’s Cole Alteneder, a junior from Newberg, Oregon, who is studying business marketing. “We’re passionate about our startup. We brought that passion to IEC and were rewarded with seed capital for HONU.”
Alteneder teamed up with Idaho Falls’ Landon Lively on the project.
Other U of I proposals that placed include:
GrainBot, an automated system for mixing grains and improving efficiency in small grain mill operations, won second place and $3,000 in the Technology category. Team members were: Anthony Black, Rathdrum, Austin Trail, Clarkston, Washington, and James Bradley, Sagle.
HAUS (Home Access Utility System), a system streamlining utility installation for builders and providing access to homeowners for repairs and upgrades, won second place and $3,000 in the Manufactured Goods category. Team members were: Lyndsay Watkins and Kelsey Ramsey, both of Portland, Oregon.
Campus Can Crusher, a highly durable, practical way to show college pride and elevate tailgate parties, won second place and $3,000 in the Social and Environmental category. Campus Can Crusher is in the shape of university logos and was pitched by Addie White, Boise.
Waytamin, an app design minimizing wait times at venues including restaurants, won third in the Technology category and $1,000, pitched by Joshi Kolikapudi, Andhra Pradesh, India.
In nine years, Idaho Entrepreneur student teams have won $1 million in seed capital at entrepreneur competitions, using their earnings to launch new companies.
“Idaho entrepreneurs use these challenges as a springboard to spin out real ideas and new business opportunities,” Tanner said.“ This year’s teams are competing in virtual competitions across the country. While virtual pitches are limiting, U of I’s strong showing at IEC proves that despite a curveball, Vandals adapt and our entrepreneurs are always ready to pitch.”
U of I’s Idaho Pitch competition is Friday, April 30. More than 40 Vandal Startup teams will pitch ideas to a panel of virtual judges.