The 2017 Spring Business Showcase held Thursday, April 13th from 2-5pm at the BellTower in Pullman connected people with good business ideas and community members interested in establishing a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem on the Palouse. Networking and refreshments preceded a series of 15-20 minute presentations highlighting business plans, management objectives, product and service, technology, market, financial viability, and employee growth implications.
TriboTEX – Vladimir Borisov
TriboTEX recently completed a record-breaking Kick Starter campaign by raising funds ten times greater than their target. Initially rejected because Kick Starter rarely does automotive product promotions, TriboTEX began discussions for reconsideration with Kick Starter. Citing TriboTEX’s grant awards and robust research-backed results, Kickstarter accepted the campaign. TriboTEX is currently expanding their manufacturing facility and looking to partner with businesses with fleets of vehicles to test and further improve their “Car Boss” engine wear-reversing product.
NW Fiber – Jim Kusznir
NW Fiber wants to provide high-speed fiber optic internet service to rural communities on the Palouse, using trunk lines already laid, but not activated (“dark fiber”) as the basis for branch lines to service individual households. Small communities in the Palouse with high-speed, reliable internet service would benefit their residents and create opportunities other business startups and telecommuters who prefer a small town lifestyle.
BTE Bootcamp™ – Francis Benjamin
Francis Benjamin, co-chair of the “Be the Entrepreneur Bootcamp™”, now in its fourth year, gave an overview of the upcoming 2017 agenda (pdf download) and locations (pdf download). Scheduled for May 21-25, the 5-day crash course in entrepreneurship with teaching venues in Pullman and Moscow, one-on-one mentoring, tours of local businesses and two free-admission, registration-required, community events.
The Palouse Pitch, Tuesday (May 23, 2017) from 7-9 pm at the Integrated Research and Innovation Center (IRIC) on the University of Idaho campus is the first public event. Described as “Speed-Dating for Entrepreneurs,” campers pitch their business idea to local business owners, governmental officials, and business-minded community members. The campers’ goal is interacting with every non-camper in attendance during a series of “3-minute speed dates” – Sign Up Today!
The Palouse Challenge, Thursday (May 25, 2017) from noon – 2:30 pm at the SEL Event Center in Pullman is the Bootcamp’s closing public event. Modeled after the popular television series “Shark Tank,” the Bootcamp’s internal Crucible Competition winning teams pitch their business idea to a panel of investors (“Sharks”). The winning teams receive cash prizes. Afterward community members are invited to visit every camper’s table display and hear their pitches – Sign Up Today!
Kea – Chris Duke
The kea bird, also known as “the clown of the mountain,” is a highly intelligent parrot native to New Zealand whose primary method of learning comes from skills gained during individual or group play.
Kea is a startup mobile birding app for Android and iOS created by two WSU grad students. It turns recognizing birds into a game, making it easier, faster and more fun than rote memorization. Kea app users can also play global and regional scramble games to test their knowledge of habitat and taxonomic bird groups. Currently, the app has over 1000 species from North America, Europe, and Costa Rica. Marketing new products to Birders is challenging. Their extraordinary brand loyalty sets a high bar. However, once new products earn their acceptance, organic growth follows.
Kea’s ultimate aim is creating networks of businesses, apps, eco lodges and other projects to directly fund conservation and restoration of ecosystems and wildlife habitat, through their Phoenix Conservancy non-profit foundation.
Burnwell – Justin Tacy, LLLP Laurel – Brandon Woodland
Following the 2014 legalization of recreational marijuana production and sales in Washington State,
“Burnwell was formed to demonstrate to producers, processors, and consumers how the highest standards in all practices lead to optimal results.”
Employing state-of-the-art technology and the unique growing conditions of Eastern Washington, Brandon Woodland of LLLP Laurel, managed the construction and daily management of a fully compliant, state-regulated grow house in Whitman County. Every aspect of grow house location, construction, video surveillance, on-site security, individual plant identification, propagation, harvesting, record keeping and sales are highly-regulated by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board.
Burnwell manages the overall company operations, marketing, legal compliance, retail aspects and public face of the business. All Burnwell Whitman County grow house product is transported to and sold in Western Washington.