This week, Be Free Village was featured in the b|launched program’s Revealed event. After the team of ten young professionals joined together for the first time in September, 2012, Be Free Village was introduced to the community as a new company focused on helping gluten-free travelers get access to healthy products and resources. Thank you Boise Weekly and KTVB for the media coverage!
Photo by Patrick Sweeney
Below is an excerpt from the article run by the Boise Weekly:
B-Launched 2.0: Hey, What’s the Big Idea?
Boise millennials work overtime to create new businesses
…Greene, Farber, Myers and seven other partners, all members of Boise Young Professionals, (sponsor of the B-Launched competition) said “we were drafted together” to become a team by mentors Steve Hodges, 2011 inductee into the Idaho Technology Council Hall of Fame, and Faisal Shah, high-tech entrepreneur and co-founder of B-Launched.
“And of course, there was no pressure,” said Farber with a big laugh. “We faced the fact that Faisal Shah’s previous two teams won this competition.”
With two technology-based wizards as mentors, one might suspect that the latest B-Launched success would be another high-tech innovation, much like most of the competition’s previous entries.
“But Faisal kept telling us, ‘You’re not a technology-based group. Do what you do best. Create a brand,’” said Green.
Easier said than done.
“We started with hundreds of ideas,” said Myers. “We probably spent three months just in the ideation process. It was one of the most difficult exercises I’ve ever been involved with because we were not really given a particular sandbox to play in.”
The “sandbox” they ended up in was far afield from high-tech but equally vast: the food industry.
“We ended up looking at food allergies and, in particular, being gluten-free,” said Lisa Bloomquist, market specialist for the Boise Valley Economic Partnership by day and BeFree Village partner by night. “Let’s face it, you can’t walk down the aisle of a grocery store without products saying ‘gluten-free’ jumping out at you.”
According to a March 2013 survey from the New York-based NPD Group, “almost a third (30 percent) of American adults say they are trying to reduce or exclude gluten from their diets.”
“This is estimated to be a $6.5 billion industry by 2014,” said Green.
But Be Free Village only wants a tiny slice of that massive pie.
“Our target is the traveler, and we want to get to them through hotels,” said Green. “One woman said she spent a week in Mexico, but had to board a bus and try to communicate with people at a grocery store just to get her gluten-free products. She could have had this waiting for her at her hotel.”
“This” is an “On the Fly” meal box.
“All in, it actually qualifies as a meal, but it’s more snack-based,” said Myers. “Inside, we have crackers, tuna fish, nuts, dried fruit and our own chocolate bar.”
Myers called the chocolate bar “super food,” manufactured by Boise-based Good Cacao with a special Be Free Village label.
“No GMOs, no artificial colors, plus it’s our exclusive chocolate bar,” she added.
Myers said the snack box is already being tested out in two hotels: Hotel 43 in downtown Boise and Spring Hill Suites near Hewlett-Packard…