2024 Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge

Basic Info

Please reference the Table of Contents for quick links to the information you need.

Key Dates

  • Feb 23rd: Application closes at midnight

  • Feb 26th and 28th: Preliminary judging

  • Feb 29th: Teams notified if they will be advancing to the prelims

  • March 7th and 8th: Preliminary competition, virtual via Zoom

  • March 8th: Top 12 teams announced, 3 teams in each track will advance to the finals

  • April 4th: Travel to Boise and pre-competition events

  • April 5th: Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge, in-person at Jack’s Urban Meeting Place (JUMP) + Award Ceremony

* Please check back soon for a more detailed schedule of each competition day.

Main IEC Contacts

Venture College is here to help you with any questions.


IEC Role



IEC Role


Cara Van Sant

  • Media inquiries

  • Competition sponsors and partners

  • Pitch practice

  • Questions about the competition

  • Questions about judges and scoring

  • Coaches coordination


Alina Gilmore

  • Pitch practice

  • Help setting up Zoom dry-runs

  • Scheduling

  • Collecting logos, photos, etc.

  • Logistical questions



IEC School Contacts

The following are official contacts regarding the IEC for their school


Contact Name(s)



Contact Name(s)


Boise Sate University

Cara Van Sant



Rob Tietjen


College of Eastern Idaho



College of Idaho



College of Southern Idaho

Cortney Campbell


College of Western Idaho

Richard Sotto


Idaho State University

Jeff Street


Lewis-Clark State College

Polly Knutson


North Idaho College

Dean Miles


Northwest Nazarene University



University of Idaho

George Tanner






Preliminary Competition & Application

All teams must apply to compete in the Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge.

Applications for the 2024 IEC are now open.

A team must include at least one full-time student currently enrolled (Fall 2023 or Spring 2024) in an Idaho University or College. While we encourage collaboration with industry, we require that that at least one student on the team be a founding member.

Please reference all other Rules, Eligibility Questions, and FAQ.

Registering & Applying for the Competition

The application process is simple and straightforward:

  1. Please check back later for the link to the 2024 Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge application.

  2. Enter details about you, your team, and business idea.

  3. Submit your application for the Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge.

Application Questions

After registering for the competition, you will need to submit an application for your business idea. The IEC Application has the following questions:

  1. Business Name

  2. Describe your business idea in 7 words or less.

  3. Describe your business in greater detail, including the problem you’re solving.

  4. Describe who your ideal customer is and why they would pay for your product, service, or solution.

  5. What uniqueness or competitive advantage does your team/solution/service have over existing competition?

  6. Please describe any progress or traction your business has experienced.

  7. Please describe how you plan to generate revenue. If you have already generated revenue, please provide more details.

  8. Tell us why you are the right team to execute on your idea.

  9. If you have a 30-60 second video, please enter in the URL (suggested but not required)

A 30-60 second video is not required, but highly recommended. The video should be a quick summary of your business and why it deserves to be an IEC Finalist.

Scoring Rubric

The purpose of the Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge is to motivate and reward student entrepreneurs with promising ventures and small businesses.

Teams will be scored on the following criteria (weighted):

  1. How well do they understand and address the market and/or customer segment they are going after? (20%)

    • Was the typical target customer described? 

    • Is the customer segment identified? 

    • Is it clear how the solution will reach customers? 

    • Has the group tested their theories and validated their target customers?

  2. How strong is their value proposition? (20%)

    • Is it clear what problem is being solved? 

    • Is the solution clearly explained? 

    • Is it clear how the solution addresses the problem? 

    • Is the solution different from what is out there today? 

    • Has the group validated the problem by talking to users and doing competitor research?

  3. How much progress or traction have they demonstrated? (10%)

    • Please note: This can look different for each team, and is not based solely on revenue.

    • Some forms of traction include:

      • Confirmed interest through customer interviews and/or secured partnerships

      • Proven need for service or product

      • Waitlist for service or product

      • Website created and interest generated

  4. How likely is the team to grow their traction and/or revenue? (10%)

    • Does the team have traction or a plan to gain/grow traction? 

    • Does the team have revenue or a plan to gain/grow revenue?

  5. How realistic and sustainable is their revenue model? (10%)

    • How will the team pay for it (i.e self-funded/capital/loans/grants)?

    • Is it clear what the customer is paying for (i.e product/service/model)? 

    • Does this type of revenue strategy make sense for the customer group?

  6. The likelihood of this idea turning into a real business. (10%)

  7. How was the overall quality of the application? (20%)

    • Was the pitch clear? 

    • Were the slides easy to understand? 

    • Did the team seem well prepared?

Application Tips and Best Practices

  1. Apply Now - Update and Edit Later. - We encourage you to submit ASAP so the Venture College team can give you feedback on your application before judges see it. Many teams will make several revisions.

  2. Word Economy - Be precise with your words. Judges don’t want to read a book - they want to quickly understand your idea and it’s uniqueness. That said, please provide enough detail so they understand your idea and status.

  3. Progress Made- Ideas are welcome. While the IEC favors teams who demonstrate progress, students in the idea stage are encouraged to apply. If you have made progress, be sure to elaborate and make it clear for the judges.

Selected to Compete - Now What?

Venture College will be in close communication about logistics, guidance, and updates. The best teams will make the most use of their time by doing the following:

  1. Grow your business and build traction: Above all, use this time to get as much traction and validation as possible. Past winners have hit the boosters to go all-in and make business progress.

  2. Pitch Practice: Use Venture College as a resource to schedule pitch practices, review the pitch template, etc. Pitch to friends, professors, anyone who will listen to your pitch.

  3. Get Your Assets in Order: We will be asking for the following things -

    1. Your official business name

    2. Business logo

    3. Brief description of the business

    4. More detailed student info and pre-competition forms

    5. A quick 30 second video about your business (if you want to change the one from the application)

In addition to working with the Venture College, we encourage you to work closely with your campus representative as well.

Pitch Requirements

Please note the following about the live pitch portion:

  1. All teams will generally need to follow the IEC pitch deck template.

  2. Teams competing will give a 4 minute pitch using a pitch deck (Google Slides recommended).

  3. Judges will have a 4 minute Q&A session after each pitch.

IEC Pitch Deck Template

All teams are encouraged to use the following template for their pitch presentation. As outlined in the template, each pitch presentation should address the following:

  1. Team Intro - Just needs your Business Name, Logo for a 10 second intro

  2. The Problem - Sell judges there is a problem worth solving - and why current products or companies haven’t solved it

  3. Your Service/Product - Explain what your service/product is or does, and the value it provides to customers.

  4. Market Opportunity: The whole world might need your product - but who really really needs it now. You need to thread the needle and show this could be a big idea but you are laser focused on a beachhead to launch the idea.

  5. Go-To-Market: On Slide 5 - you tell me a specific sub-segment who will love your business. Now you need to tell how you are going to market to them and launch the business through them.

  6. Revenue Model: How you make money ($35 one-time or $35/ a month per user) and any relevant costs (especially if you are a product based-business).

  7. Progress to Date: Sell the judges this isn’t just an idea. You have progress and traction.

  8. Next Steps: What are your next steps to grow the business. How could IEC funds help?

  9. Team: Brief overview on why judges should believe you are the team that can execute on your next steps and actually grow the business.

  10. Questions: - Simple slide to help you thank judges and open up for questions.

Pitch Deck Tips

Please note the following suggestions or tips:

  1. The template is just a guide. You can change colors, change titles, etc.

  2. Some topics, like financials, are easier to explain over two slides. For example you could have one slide showing cost vs. revenue, followed up with a slide that shows projections. Or one slide could explain a general problem and a second slide explaining why existing solutions in the market are not solving the problem. (▶️ See Video)

  3. Use minimal words on your slides (see examples). Replace words with icons or pictures. Some slides, like a problem slide, might not need any words at all - it’s just a visual aide to what you will be talking about. (▶️ See Slide by Slide Video Tips)

  4. For more tips, see: https://www.boisestate.edu/iec/helpful-hints/#tips-from-past-judges-


Pitch Video Resources

Examples of 2-4 minute pitches:

  1. 2019 College IEC Winner: Doorstep

  2. 2020 College IEC Finalists

  3. DoorDash Pitch when they were a baby startup

  4. Enflux Presenting at YC Demo Day (Why did they start with weightlifting?)

  5. YC W19 Pulse Active Stations Network Demo Day (There are 1 billion Indians, why is he starting in train stations?)

  6. Ramp - Demo Day Pitch (He talked about his team slide for 15 seconds. Convinced?)