From the University of Idaho:
MOSCOW, Idaho – Through innovative solutions in cybersecurity and construction safety, University of Idaho students won a total of $37,000 in Boise Entrepreneur Week, Idaho’s largest entrepreneurial competition.
First place students have taken the top spot in an annual competition hosted by Boise State University. Vijay supports the development of interdisciplinary, team-designed business plans to address unique challenges.
First place cybersecurity competition and Life’s a Pitch winner Intty Anantachote, senior in virtual technology and design, earned $13,000 for her cybersecurity training tool Gamified Scam Awareness Training. Her tool uses virtual reality to help educate senior citizens and students about the dangers of social engineering scams that exploit a person’s trust to obtain money or confidential information.
“As a student, I am constantly encouraged to think about how I can use my technical and design skills to impact healthcare, education and our society,” said Anantachote. “My education at the U of I contributed to my success in this entrepreneurial competition and to creating a product that fills the gap in public cybersecurity training.”
Sam Slusser, a finance and PGA golf senior in the College of Business and Economics (CBE), also took home $10,000 in the Hacking for Homebuilding competition for a strapwell bag he designed to latch onto a tie down that is safe and secure. Any kind of pulling or moving.
Competitors in the home construction and cybersecurity challenges propose solutions to problems provided by industry leaders and solve them for cash prizes. This is an opportunity for contestants to create viable ventures and connect with mentors and industry leaders. Competitors in the Life’s a Pitch competition are sponsored by U of I’s Idaho Entrepreneurs and pitch their own unique business ideas to judges, including 50 Boise business owners and executives.
“Almost all great startups start at the intersection of skills,” said George Tanner, director of Idaho Entrepreneurship and U of I senior instructor. “At the U of I, we bring together engineers, virtual designers, scientists and student entrepreneurs and business students. This powerful combination of thinkers and doers leads to great results like success in the competition and the real startups our students create.”
U of I teams are also placed in the following categories:
Ian King, David Traill, Nathan Higley and Sophia Grace Civula took second place, earning $4,000 for NADIS, a cybersecurity security company that helps businesses verify users with access privileges.
Trail and Higley are seniors in the College of Engineering’s cybersecurity program, the first bachelor’s program in Idaho and one of only a handful in the region. King and Shivula are senior computer science majors studying in the College of Engineering.
Heat2Go!, a portable heat solution for winter construction sites by Suzy Johnson, Leonard Johnson and Shane Elmose, won second place and $7,000 for the team. Susie Johnson and Leonard Johnson CBE study entrepreneurship. Elmoz is a senior mechanical engineering major in the College of Engineering.
Deanna Kienbaum, McKenna Jacobs and Anantachote won third place and earned $3,000 for their training simulation Gamified Customer Care. A first-person virtual reality tool helps new hires in customer service develop emotional intelligence and career-specific skills. Kienbaum and Jacobs are human resources seniors at CBE.