Built in Boise: From Social Entrepreneurs to Food Innovators

The passionate writers, photographers, designers, builders and business-owners over at Built in Boise have been cranking out more inspiring stories of Boise companies and the people behind them. From social entrepreneurs to food innovators, here is a roundup of profiles from the last 30 days:


Zanifesto:  A picture, they say, is worth a thousand words. But it shouldn’t cost a thousand dollars. At least that’s the view of Jennifer Benz and Nick Tamm, the founders of Zanifesto. Their tool makes creating data-rich, visually compelling infographics — those charts and diagrams so popular on social media — simple enough that non-designers can make them in minutes. Read how these two cousins hope to build a business as unforgettable as the infographics it creates in  Zanifesto: Uncharted Territory


Speak Your Silence: Matt Pipkin kept a dark secret locked away for 20 years before he decided to set it free. Two years out of college at Purdue in 2009, Pipkin hit a low point in his life.“I’d gotten into real estate and felt like a failure, like I was worthless,” he said, having gone into the profession right around the time the market bubble burst. “I’d never questioned my value before as a human being. That was really my low point.” Read Matt used his own life story to help create change one stitch at a time in The Stitch: Breaking the Silence

Zacca Hummus: When a family farm and a family recipe tie the knot, Zacca Hummus is born. Janine Zacca Zenner knew her mother was passionate about hummus, but she didn’t expect this. Her mom, who was visiting Boise from South Florida, stood in Janine’s kitchen yelling in her family’s native language of Arabic. “She was really upset. ‘Why aren’t you using the garbanzo beans from the farm?!’” Janine recalls. Janine’s mother knew something Janine didn’t. She knew that hummus tasted better when made with fresh garbanzo beans. Read the full story on the birth of growth of Zacca Hummus: All in the Family.


Gameday Sports Leagues: Eric Leaman is not the kind of person to get stuck in a rut. So after hitting the three year mark as a referee for a Seattle adult sports league, making just $14 a game, he decided he needed to get out of that rut and start something for himself. “I like building, trying new things and learning,” says Eric. “It was time to change things.” So in 2012, Eric and his brother, David, decided to try something new. They started Gameday Sports Leagues, a collection of after-work games for adults that include bowling, flag football, volleyball and trivia. Read how Eric Leaman built a sports league while learning to play the game of business in Gameday Sports Leagues: Game Changer


Jitasa: In his previous life, Jeff Russell was a high-powered, high-flying business consultant for the world’s largest management consulting company. It was fun. The perks were great. And the work was interesting. But Jeff wanted more. The lifestyle and work didn’t align with his personal values. “A month before our wedding, the partner on the project I was working on came to me and asked if we had any flexibility on the date,” Jeff recalls, laughing at the absurdity of rearranging his wedding for a consulting gig. “That was a pretty clear sign it was time for me to move on.” Read how the company he started is doing well by doing good for non-profits — and employees in Jitasa: Good Money