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Maggie (Jenny Anderson)

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Innovating for the Future

Idaho entrepreneur challenge gives leg-up to student enterprises

Article by Jordan Gray

Photography by Photos provided by Boise State University, Sean Evans photography

Originally published in Boise Lifestyle

Twenty-four finalists. More than $50,000 in prizes. And a ton of innovation and hard work on display.

This was the scene of the 2022 Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge (IEC) at Jack’s Urban Meeting Place in Boise. This yearly statewide competition for university students, hosted by Boise State University, aims to “develop and reward student entrepreneurs with promising ventures and small businesses.”

"The Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge is an opportunity to inject seed capital into legitimate student-led businesses without them sacrificing equity or paying steep lawyer fees,” Boise State Venture College Associate Director Ryan Vasso said. “Historically, this money helps them get to the next phase of launching or growing their business, including building a prototype, buying product inventory, marketing materials and tactics.”

Student entrepreneurs focused on four separate tracks: software, technology products, manufactured goods, or services. They then pitched their business to a panel of judges based on topics like what problem they were solving, why their team was right for the job, what made them unique from their competition, and how they’d make money.

“It’s really cool, because it’s a launchpad to take their businesses further,” Boise State Venture College Marketing and Communications Manager Cara Van Sant said. “The judges are made up of top business leaders, entrepreneurs themselves, from across the state, so students get this instant community through the connections they’re making and who they’re pitching in front of. Even if they’re not one of the winning teams, they come away with that network.”

Christian Perry, representing Boise State University, won top prize in the software track for ChatterQuant.

“Most people are familiar with what happened with stocks like GameStop and AMC,” Perry, the ChatterQuant co-founder and CEO, said. “They ran thousands of percentage points solely based on what was being discussed on social media platforms. What most people don't realize is that movements like this happen on a smaller scale all of the time. I'm basically tying into what's being said and seeing how it's impacting stock prices. It's a harnessing of the collective intelligence of millions of traders and making insights off of that, which we then sell to hedge funds, banks, and other institutions and traders.”

Together with co-founder Bars Juhasz, Perry has been pitching ChatterQuant at conferences and competitions like IEC.

“I was a student at the Boise State Venture College and went through their six-week course, which was very helpful,” Perry said. “One of the people at the Venture College suggested we go through IEC. We had already won a pitch at Hackfort, which is part of Treefort. We decided to use that momentum to go into IEC and pitch, and we did very well.”

In addition to winning the software track, Perry also earned the top honor in the Final Pitch Competition.

“It was very exciting,” he said. “It provided some more validation, and allowed us to make connections with investors and advisors.”

IEC also led the way for Perry to talk about ChatterQuant at an Idaho Technology Council event. Most recently, ChatterQuant appeared on stage at TradeTech Europe in Paris, France.  

“We were actually voted the most innovative and likely to succeed in the market,” Perry said of the experience. “That’s been our biggest accolade lately and was pretty exciting.”

Perry and ChatterQuant weren’t the only participants to make a splash at IEC.

Isabelle Boicourt, Ben Thomsen, and Kade Nyman of Boise State University snagged the manufactured goods track award with their company, The Bee Team.

The Bee Team offers The Keeper, which allows for continuous use throughout the inspection of multiple hives and regulates temperature control and amount of smoke produced.

The services track saw two winners.

Ethyn Williams, Luke George, and Emily House teamed up from the College of Western Idaho, Boise State University, and Idaho State University to form Lower Gear Cycles. The business offers a mobile alternative to traditional walk-in bicycle repair shops.

“I really love mountain biking, the community, and the great people you meet through the sport and industry of cycling at large,” Williams said. “(For IEC), we wanted to get our name out there, as well as obtain funding to finish our large race/repair trailer, which will allow us to travel more, provide more services, and hopefully sponsor local youth teams and cycling events. It was fantastic to win. We obtained funding and had the chance to meet many great people and business owners/entrepreneurs from a variety of industries.”

Jenny Anderson of Boise State University and her business Maggie shared the services track top spot. Maggie connects women in low-wage jobs to high-paying roles in technology sales.

“I started Maggie to give women training, confidence, and access to opportunity,” Anderson said. “Sales changed my life, and I want to give that gift to others. Winning the track meant a lot, but really, the big victory was winning the President's Award. I'm a super huge Marlene Tromp fangirl. To have been chosen from all of the amazing teams to receive her award and endorsement…it was a huge deal for me. I went from getting kicked out of college as a freshman, experiencing homelessness, and significant poverty to this. It all kind of feels a bit like redemption, huh?”

Over in the technology products track, Brad Mosell clinched the title with his business, Dharma Dr.

“I started Dharma Dr. because I believe in the power of bilateral stimulation to help individuals heal, grow, and transform,” Mosell said. “As a teacher, I work with students who often face a myriad of environmental or psychological challenges that activate the fight-or-flight reflex. Dharma Dr. Tabs are an accessible and effective tool to help reduce stress and anxiety…creating a pathway to peace of mind. Winning the technology products track and the Trolley House Venture Award was amazing and ultimately gave me the confidence to pursue Dharma Dr. full time. The funding accelerated our product development, which we will be showcasing at Boise Entrepreneur Week this October!”

To learn more about IEC, you can visit

  • Courtesy Christian Perry
  • Courtesy Christian Perry
  • The Bee Team (Isabelle Boicourt, Ben Thomsen, and Kade Nyman)
  • Maggie (Jenny Anderson)
  • Maggie (Jenny Anderson)
  • Lower Gear Cycles (Luke George and Ethyn Williams)
  • The Bee Team (Isabelle Boicourt, Ben Thomsen, and Kade Nyman)
  • Dharma Dr. (Brad Mosell)
  • Dharma Dr. (Brad Mosell)
  • ChatterQuant (Christian Perry)
  • Lower Gear Cycles (Luke George and Ethyn Williams)
  • ChatterQuant (Christian Perry)

Businesses featured in this article