BOISE -- Any fledgling entrepreneur who has ever started a company knows it isn't easy.
Now, imagine starting one with someone you've never met.
That's exactly what a handful of people from the Boise Young Professionals program have been working on for the past eight months.
Here's how it went.
In September, 50 strangers signed up to compete in 'B Launched,' a competition sponsored by the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce to create start-up companies.
Then on Wednesday night, after eight months of hard work, the program's five competing teams came together to present their startups to the public for the first time.
Members of sponsoring agency the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce weren't sure what to expect when they started the competition. President and CEO Bill Connors told KTVB he hoped at least one start-up company could be launched. The competitors exceeded his expectations.
"If I had a lot of money, I would have thrown some money at it, because I think all of them are great ideas," said Connors. "What this program has launched is just the spirit of innovation." Connors was also one of the judges for the competition.
The Boise startup 'Follow and Fund' took home the competition's grand prize -- $15,000 -- enough money to launch the company.
Follow and Fund helps college students pay for the education expenses.
"It allows those students to engage and build a personal network all targeted toward supporting their education goals," said Christine Quintana, a member of the Follow and Fund team.
Quintana says her company's program allows students to create an online profile that helps track their grades, graduation status, and education costs. Quintana says if family or friends want to send money to students, Follow and Fund gives them a better idea of how that money is being spent.
"We've been meeting every Sunday for hours," said Quintana.
Apparently all those long hours have paid-off, because Follow and Fund goes public in June.
"The program has been much more about the journey than the competition," said Quintana.
The Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce wanted the competition to create a new company, but President Connors says it was more important to teach young business leaders how to start a business.
"It is about innovation," said Connors. "It is about encouraging entrepreneurship and that is what this program does. So this chamber is going to support it for many years to come."
During the competition, each team was paired with mentor, a local business leader in the community. The businesses mentors were from Mark Monitor, Treetop Technologies, The Boise Consulting Group, Auction Frogs and Handyman Connection.
The mentors didn't just help inspire and guide the teams, they came up with the prize money. Each gave $5,000.
However, Follow and Fund isn't the only one planning to start their company, 'ADvailable' is also eying a summer launch date. The company connects people looking to buy ad space with sellers.
"We are just trying to get more eyes for the sellers so they can generate additional revenue," said Alina Vaynberg, an ADvailable team member.
Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce plans to sponsor B Launched again next year.