What is Venture College?

Think of Venture College as a petri dish.

A place for students and our community to start, grow, expand your skills and be a human guinea pig.

Imagine being able to start your own business while you are student. Or learning the latest innovation strategies. Or even learning how to code without majoring in computer science.

Background

We launched in August 2013 as a way to help students launch their own business or non-profit.  Since then, we have expanded past the entrepreneurial space to more of a learning-by-doing place approach. (Although we are still recognized as one of the nation’s leading student entrepreneurial incubators.)

There are Boise State students who have an intense desire to create something new, from creating their own businesses, building up their toolbox to land their dream job, or just learning new ways of doing things that make them more efficient and productive in their personal and professional lives.

Why Venture College is For You

If you have ever thought to yourself, “I am not getting the most out of my college education.”

Or “I really wish there was a way to learn about business, but I don’t want to major in business.”

Or even, “my classroom project was AWESOME! I really want to see if I can make a little extra cash on this.”

Then you’re in the right place! As cliche as this sounds, Venture College has something for everyone. We have programs that range in intensity- so you if only have a weekend, or an entire semester, we’ve got you covered.

All of our programs and events focus on innovation, entrepreneurial and practical skills.

Check out some of our programs to see which one enhances your life.

Leadership + Mentors

When you join a Venture College program, you’re in great hands.

We have really experienced staff and a mentor base of over 400 people from our community that are willing to help you achieve your goals.

Ed Zimmer
Associate Director
Ed retired as CEO of ECCO Group in October 2009 after a twenty-four year career with the company. Under his leadership the company grew from twenty employees to the world’s Read More
Ed ZimmerAssociate Director

Ed retired as CEO of ECCO Group in October 2009 after a twenty-four year career with the company. Under his leadership the company grew from twenty employees to the world’s largest manufacturer of warning lights and reversing alarms with over 500 employees and plants in Boise, England and Australia. Before joining ECCO he served as the Olympic Coordinator for USA Gymnastics and as Head Gymnastics coach at the University of Washington and Boise State. Prior to his coaching career he was in sales, marketing and new product development management for Porter Equipment in Chicago. He has served as Executive in Residence for the Division of Research at Boise State and is currently the Interim Head of School for the Foothills School of Arts and Sciences. He helped to finance and serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Black-Rac Manufacturing, a Boise-based early stage company. He has degrees from Miami-Dade Community College and the University of Illinois-Chicago.

Kevin Learned Portrait
Kevin Learned
Director
An entrepreneur who co-founded Idaho’s first commercial software company and its first formal angel investment group, Kevin has a long history of working with early-stage companies as an investor, a Read More
Kevin Learned Portrait
Kevin LearnedDirector

An entrepreneur who co-founded Idaho’s first commercial software company and its first formal angel investment group, Kevin has a long history of working with early-stage companies as an investor, a mentor, and an advisor. He has just retired as President of the Boise Angel Alliance, a charter member of the Angel Capital Association. He was co-founder of Idaho’s first angel investment fund.

He previously served on the Boise State faculty as a professor of entrepreneurship and strategy. Our students twice honored him as Professor of the Year for his outstanding teaching, and as Advisor of the Year for his work in creating the Entrepreneurship Club. He spent the last five years as a business counselor in the Idaho Small Business Development Center on the BSU campus where he specialized in working with new ventures. He also has senior level academic administration experience as the former president of the (Albertson) College of Idaho. He serves on the Board of Directors of Medical Management, Inc. and has served on the boards of other early-stage ventures. He holds degrees from Yale, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and Texas Tech. (more…)

Marilyn Bickle
Assistant Director
Marilyn and her husband, Kelly owned and operated The Burns Studio, her family’s third generation portrait studio for thirty years. Shortly after retiring from photography in 2013, Marilyn joined Venture Read More
Marilyn BickleAssistant Director

Marilyn and her husband, Kelly owned and operated The Burns Studio, her family’s third generation portrait studio for thirty years. Shortly after retiring from photography in 2013, Marilyn joined Venture College, bringing her experience in retail and main street business to the program. Active in the Boise community for many years, Marilyn currently serves as Vice President of the Frank Church Institute, is a member and past president of the Rotary Club of Boise and served on the Board of Directors of the Treasure Valley YMCA. She graduated from the University of Oregon.

 

We also have a pretty amazing advisory board. Learn about them.