What is Venture College?

 

Venture College: Empowering students to take their ideas
as far as they can go!

The Venture College exists so that every student at Boise State can apply what they learn in the classroom to their dreams. At the “VC Garage”, students and student teams participate in an encouraging, resource-rich, hands-on, culture that facilitates incubation of ideas and acceleration of startups. Mentored by the best faculty, staff, and advisors at Boise State and in the community, VC’ers are well prepared to lead and succeed – in their communities and beyond.

Want to change YOUR world?

You’re in the right place! Check out how our wide range of programs and events can help you achieve your dreams – Join Us!

Programs

Find the courses that are right for you.

Events

Pitch competitions, networking opportunities, and more. Check out what we’re up to.

Join Us!

Let’s do this!

We bring it all together for you!

Venture College Students

When you join a Venture College program, you’re in great hands. Our support culture includes an experience rich community of innovators including resident startups, resident advisors, VC staff, VC faculty, subject matter expert advisors, VC Alums, Volunteers and others. Over 400 in all!

The VC Leadership Team

Ed Zimmer Portrait
Ed Zimmer
Program Development Coordinator

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.

Ed Zimmer Portrait
Ed ZimmerProgram Development Coordinator

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, Professor Emeritus
Resident Senior Advisor

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 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 Boise State University 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.

Kevin Learned Portrait
Kevin Learned, Professor EmeritusResident Senior Advisor

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 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 Boise State University 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.

Marilyn Bickle
Marilyn Bickle
Program Administration 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.

Marilyn Bickle
Marilyn BickleProgram Administration 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.

Mike Sumpter
Director

No stranger to Boise State, Sumpter has been a member of the campus community in various roles since 2006. Most recently he served as Director of Campus Strategic Development charged with developing and launching public-private partnerships with community and regional partners resulting in over $100 million in new capital construction commitments. Mike earned his M.S. in Management from Lesley University and his B.S. in Business Administration from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Sumpter has over 20 doctoral credit hours in Education Policy from the University of Nebraska.

Mike SumpterDirector

No stranger to Boise State, Sumpter has been a member of the campus community in various roles since 2006. Most recently he served as Director of Campus Strategic Development charged with developing and launching public-private partnerships with community and regional partners resulting in over $100 million in new capital construction commitments. Mike earned his M.S. in Management from Lesley University and his B.S. in Business Administration from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Sumpter has over 20 doctoral credit hours in Education Policy from the University of Nebraska.

Whitney Hansen Portrait
Whitney Hansen
Outreach Coordinator

Aside from her duties at Venture College, and her commitments teaching the popular Personal Finance course, Whitney has an online platform that provides education, articles, courses, webinars, and videos on personal finance topics such as paying off debt, living on a budget, and increasing income.

Whitney Hansen Portrait
Whitney HansenOutreach Coordinator

Aside from her duties at Venture College, and her commitments teaching the popular Personal Finance course, Whitney has an online platform that provides education, articles, courses, webinars, and videos on personal finance topics such as paying off debt, living on a budget, and increasing income.

We also have a pretty amazing team of faculty and advisors.