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Business Briefs: Boise State, Zions launch new business plan competition

Boise State, Zions launch new business plan competition

Zions Bank and Boise State University have launched an Idaho Entrepreneur Challenge, a series of workshops and events culminating in a statewide business plan competition with a $40,000 grand prize.

Boise State University's College of Business and Economics building. Photo by Pete Grady.

Boise State University’s College of Business and Economics building. Photo by Pete Grady.

BSU’s Center for Entrepreneurship will manage the challenge, which is open to students at all Idaho colleges and universities.

The contest will help students develop the skills needed to launch a new business, said Zions Bank President and CEO Scott Anderson, who announced the new program during Zions Bank’s Small Business Conference August 19. “Financial support, in the form of prize money and other resources, will help turn a few of these business concepts and product prototypes into new businesses,” he said.

The business idea competition will start this fall. This year’s Entrepreneur Challenge will culminate in the spring with the state-wide business plan competition. Participating schools will receive financial resources to support student participation and host affiliate competitions at their locations.

By Teya Vitu

For-profit college ordered to cease operations in Idaho

The owner of a for-profit, online-only college has been ordered to stop operating in Idaho.

Idaho Attorney Genearl Lawrence Wasden

Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden

Philip Braun ran the Caldwell-based Canyon College of Idaho, Inc., a company that sold online degrees and college credits. The business filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in June.

Customers of the college had complained to the Consumer Protection Division of the Idaho Attorney General’s office that they purchased degrees and college credit that were not accepted by accredited universities or employers.

Braun had operated Canyon College of Idaho since 2009, according to the Attorney General’s office. Under his settlement with the office, Braun cannot own, operate or manage any entity that sells educational goods or services in Idaho. Braun is liable for civil penalties of $41,000 if he violates the settlement terms, the Attorney General’s office said.

IBR Staff

Foreclosures up in July but way down since July 2013

Housing foreclosures in Ada County saw an upward blip in July, but year-to-year foreclosure filings in Treasure Valley have been sliced in half, leading distressed home buyer and seller Gorilla Capital reported.

Ada County saw a 15 percent increase in filings of Notices of Default from June to July with 76 foreclosures filed in July. Canyon County’s 42 filings in July mirrored July’s filings. But Gorilla found that Treasure Valley foreclosures were down 52 percent from July 2013 to July 2014.

Gorilla buys, redevelops, and sells homes owned by banks or sold by short sales.

“Because the foreclosure system has been working in overdrive the past few years, there can often be lag time before the filing is actually made and there is no question the market continues to heal as compared to 2013,” Gorilla’s Idaho President Ryan Strasshofer said.

“I don’t think you can draw any conclusions month-to-month,” said Marc Lebowitz, executive director of the Ada County Association of Realtors. He noted that only 5 percent of home sales in July were of distressed homes, while the June figure was 6 percent.

“It could be a year or more before a foreclosed home goes on the market,” Lebowitz said. “You have time to remedy the situation. What we are seeing is continued improvement.”

By Teya Vitu

US homebuilder confidence rises in August

U.S. homebuilders are feeling more confident in their sales prospects headed into next year, a sign that home construction and sales of newly built homes may pick up after stalling this summer.

The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index rose this month to 55, up two points from a revised reading of 53 in July.

The latest reading is the highest since January, when it was 56.

Readings above 50 indicate more builders view sales conditions as good, rather than poor.

Sales of new homes are running behind last year’s pace.

But builders’ view of current sales conditions for single-family homes, their outlook for sales over the next six months and traffic by prospective buyers each increased in the latest survey.

The Associated Press

Albertsons, via Supervalu, is latest to suffer data breach

A data breach at Supervalu may have affected as many as 200 of its grocery and liquor stores, and potentially affected retail chains recently sold by the company, including Albertsons, in two dozen states.

Photo by Patrick Sweeney

Photo by Patrick Sweeney

The announcement lengthens the list of retailers that have had security walls breached in recent months, including Target, P.F. Chang’s and even the thrift store operations of Goodwill Industries International Inc.

Hackers gained access to a network that processes Supervalu transactions, with account numbers, expiration dates, card holder names and other information possibly stolen, the company said. Those systems are still being used by the stores sold off by Supervalu last year for $3.3 billion, potentially opening up customer data at those stores as well.

The breach occurred between June 22 and July 17, according to Supervalu, which said it took immediate steps to secure that portion of its network.

The Associated Press

Boy Scout organization has right to sell camp

The Idaho Supreme Court has upheld a lower court ruling that found a Boy Scout group has the authority to sell or trade its camp on Lake Coeur d’Alene.

The case was brought by opponents of an Arizona developer’s offer to trade the 420-acre Camp Easton for 270 acres elsewhere on the lake along with a $2.5 million endowment.

Talks about the proposed swap ended, but a group called Camp Easton Forever sought a final ruling on whether the Inland Northwest Council of the Boy Scouts of America had the right to trade the land.

Opponents argued the land was donated to the Scouts in 1929 with the condition that it would always be used as a Scout camp.

The council’s attorneys argued the deed contained no such restrictions and a District Court judge agreed.

The Associated Press

Wildfire managers: Drones are a threat to firefighters

Unmanned drones flying over wildfires could lead to firefighter injuries and force retardant bombers to be called off, wildfire managers say.

At least three drones have flown within or near restricted airspace intended for wildfire fighting aircraft so far this year, the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise announced August 15. There was one such incident last year.

“We’re seeing an increase in people wanting to film from a distance with hobby aircraft,” said spokesman Mike Ferris, noting wildfires are often buzzing with low-flying planes and helicopters. “If you had one of these would you fly it near an airport?”

In June, a drone was spotted at the Two Bulls Fire near Bend in central Oregon. Drones have also been spotted at a fire in Washington state that destroyed hundreds of homes, and another that went aloft at a Northern California wildfire.

The Federal Aviation Administration allows hobbyists to use model aircraft or small drones as long as they keep them away from airports, fly them under 400 feet and keep the aircraft within sight of the remote-controlling operator at all times.

However, wildfires typically have temporary flight restrictions that extend up and out from the fire so helicopters and retardant aircraft can do drops without worrying about other aircraft. The restrictions include small drones.

“If they’re going to be flying these things, they need to educate themselves,” Ferris said.

The Associated Press


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