Deadline is Friday for Boise Young Professionals competition

Statesman staffDecember 11, 2013 

The Boise Young Professionals’ b|launched 3.0 competition is gearing up for its third year, with applications due this Friday, Dec. 13.

The competition, which launches Jan. 7, features four teams, each with two mentors and up to eight young professionals who are diverse in skills and background. Teams will compete for initial funding to start a business. A minimum of $20,000 will be awarded to the first place team and $10,000 to the second place team when the finalists are announced in April.

All b|launched teams will have the opportunity to pitch for additional funding by the end of the year. The total funding amount is approaching $70,000, more than $20,000 more than last year.

“Of all the things that the Chamber does, b|launched is one of the programs of which we are most proud,” said Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bill Connors. “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.”

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

Led by local business mentors, b|launched began in 2011 and has resulted in the launch of four companies: 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 more than 100 young professionals in the art of creating start-ups.

Each year the program matches successful Boise entrepreneurs with about 30 young professionals with the goal of creating at least two new start-up companies.

"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 adviser 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; andMick Wiskerchen, entrepreneur.

Applications 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.

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