by Andrew Crisp
Two teams ready to launch Boise's next generation of industry stepped closer to reality today, when a panel of judges awarded start-up prizes totaling $55,000.
Be Free Village, awarded first place and $20,000, plans to market allergy-minded foodstuffs to local businesses. Cray Say, with plans to market an app to aid shoppers, was selected for second place and $10,000. The remaining $25,000 will be awarded before the end of the year.
B-Launched is designed to find big ideas, pairing members of Boise Young Professionals, an offshoot of Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce, with local mentors to design and build the Treasure Valley's next software company. Be Free Village plans to move forward immediately using the award.
"We're ready to move forward," said team member Lisa Bloomquist.
That 10-member team, according to Bloomquist, already has community partnerships and will target its product in the Boise market.
Each of the four teams worked with local entrepreneur mentors, and presented final presentations to a group of judges for consideration.
"That was by far the best presentation I've seen done," Dr. David Pate, president and CEO of St. Luke's Health system and B-Launched judge, told the Be Free Village team. "The reason you didn't get a lot of questions is because you answered them."
Be Free Village and Cray Say competed with CoConnect, a product designed to link business officials, and Road Map Health, a product to help patients take more control of their health care. Many of the judges urged even the teams that didn't receive prizes to move forward with their plans.
"There's a danger at this point of falling in love with your plan," cautioned team adviser Dr. Roy Glen. "Everything about your proposal may change at this point."