BOISE, Idaho — Business leaders from across Idaho will leave for a trade mission to Taiwan and Singapore Wednesday. They will then meet with other leaders to build international business relationships and look to increase sales of their Idaho products.
Boise State's New Product Development Lab will be represented on the trade mission. Grey Beaudry is the lab's manager and will be flying to the other side of the world to meet potential business partners for the lab.
"We use students that are going to BSU, whether it be engineering, GIMM, business or electrical engineering students, to help people in industry — inventors, entrepreneurs create products," Beaudry said. "So it's a paid job."
The lab operates like a traditional engineering design firm; 16 students work in the lab to help design, prototype and create new products for businesses.
"Each student has their own responsibilities. They manage the projects, almost 100%...they do the client meetings, the client interactions, they do the design work. My graphic designers will do brand languages and websites, applications. We're working toward the business side, including market analysis, social media management, social media planning," Beaudry said. "The electrical engineers are doing PCB design, a lot of embedded systems. And then my GIMM majors - which kind of ties into the graphic design, they're doing video games, a little bit more on the application side, hard coding websites, ad anything that we might need for Arduino or Raspberry Pi."
Their clients have ranged from larger manufacturers to smaller side businesses.
"So we consult with really anyone to create product, and we try to have that be as diverse as possible, hence all the different disciplines of the students. We have tons of 3D printing equipment in order to provide any level of prototype our clients may need," Beaudry said. "We have access to Boise State's Engineering Innovation Studio that's across the street to do any fabrication. So we can really do anything we need our clients for us to do or anything they ask. have us to do so."
Beaudry will be going on the trade mission to build relationships with international companies so students can branch out into a larger ecosystem of manufacturers and entrepreneurs.
"My goal for the Governor's Trade Mission, and why I was so interested was to hopefully gain some contacts over in Taiwan and in Singapore," Beaudry said. "For manufacturing resources, supply chain resources, and potentially sales channels as well."
Beaudry is scheduled for about 10 meetings during the trade mission. The Department of Commerce worked to help set him up with companies that deal in embedded electronics and varying industries in manufacturing.
By meeting with potential partners face-to-face, Beaudry says they will be able to cultivate stronger business relationships and have connections in other countries. Which proves more valuable than looking up potential partners online.
"The other part of that is we grow the program between business students and everybody else. In our marketing side it would be great to partner with some of these organizations, and just get students the exposure of what that world looks like," Beaudry said. "The other side of that coin is, the United States is a creativity-rich environment...that is something that we outsource a lot. So for a company in Taiwan or Singapore to be able to reach out to us and use our creative students to create a prototype or design, I also think is a really cool opportunity too. So I'm excited about the trip."
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