Syracuse University student entrepreneurs win big at the New York Business Plan Competition

Syracuse University student entrepreneurship teams dominated the eighth annual New York Business Plan Competition (NYBPC), which took place on Friday, April 28, 2017 at SUNY Poly’s NanoTech Complex in Albany. Syracuse teams captured the $100,000 grand prize as well as taking first-place honors in four out of the six main categories. No institution in the competition’s history has achieved this level of success at a single event.

More than 400 student-led teams applied for the statewide competition. Friday’s final featured 103 teams that advanced through regional semifinal rounds that were held across the state.

The statewide NYBPC offers the largest prizes of any student business competition in the world — a total of $160,000 was awarded at this year’s competition. Winners were selected by expert judges, including venture capitalists, angel investors, investment bankers, public and private investors, and seasoned entrepreneurs. Syracuse University student teams came home with $140,000 of the prize money, competing against teams from 60 colleges and universities representing the 10 Regional Economic Development Council zones (Capital Region, Central New York, North Country, Mohawk Valley, Finger Lakes, Western New York, Southern Tier, Mid-Hudson, New York City, and Long Island). Winners were selected by expert judges that included venture capitalists, angel investors, investment bankers, public and private investors, and seasoned entrepreneurs.

The Syracuse prize winners:

  • $100,000 Grand Prize: Spark Charge—Josh Aviv, Bryan Christopher Morris, and Jaydeep Sathe; portable, fast-charging battery unit for electric vehicles; http://www.spcev.com.
  • $10,000 First Place, Clean Technology: Spark Charge: http://www.spcev.com.
  • $10,000 First Place, Social Entrepreneurship/Non-profit: Thrive Project—Ryan Brinkerhoff, Brian Kam, Josh Moon, Khalid Bin Ayaz Khan, Amanda Chou; empowering underserved communities through education and skills training for sustainability; http://thriveproject.org.
  • $10,000 First Place, Service: IIID—Jack Phillips; 3D printed architectural elements for the historic preservation industry.
  • $10,000 First Place, Software/IT: Power Spike—AJ Damiano; influencer marketplace for live streamers; http://power-spike.com.

Syracuse University teams also won the following prestigious NYBPC awards:

  • Undergraduate Excellence Award: Busie—Seth Samowitz, Louis Bookoff, and Joshua Bain; quoting and booking app for charter bus operators.
  • People’s Choice Award: Shine the Magazine—Michaela Anne Quigley; online publication for teenagers and young adults with disabilities.
  • Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise  Awards: Origin Story—Analise Sesay; subscription service of artist/maker products for niche consumer market; Modo Script—David Zuleta; smart pill device integrated with technology platform to combat prescription drug abuse.

Compete CNY, the NYBPC qualifying competition for the Central New York region, was held in March and was organized by the Syracuse University Libraries’ Blackstone LaunchPad, whose staff also accompanied the teams to Albany last week.  “The Blackstone LaunchPad has provided business planning expertise, mentorship, collaboration space, and presentation guidance to teams across Syracuse University,” said Dean of Libraries David Seaman, “and we are delighted at the impact this new library service has had in its first year of operation.”

As an incentive for Syracuse University teams to participate in the qualifying competition, the School of Information Studies (iSchool) offered $40,000 in prize money from the Raymond von Dran Fund for Student Entrepreneurship (RvD iPrize). RVD iPrize award winners who went on to success in the statewide competition included IIID ($6,000), PowerSpike ($5,000), Spark Charge ($4,500), Modo Script ($3,500), Thrive Project ($3,000), Busie ($3,000), Shine the Magazine ($1,500), and Origin Story ($1,000).

“I am pleased to see our iPrize winners continuing on to sweep so many of the top spots at the statewide competition,” remarked iSchool Dean Elizabeth D. Liddy. “Many of these students were participants in our Information Technology, Design, and Startups minor or spent summers at the Syracuse Student Sandbox working on their companies. I am proud to see their efforts and hard work being so handsomely rewarded.”

Spark Charge also won $10,000 in the Whitman School’s recent Panasci Business Plan Competition—$2,500 as the third place overall winner; $5,000 for the Fetner Prize for Sustainable Enterprise; and $2,500 for the Goldberg Prize for Technology & Innovation.

“We are extremely proud of our student entrepreneurs and what they have accomplished together,” says Alexander McKelvie, Chair of the Department of Entrepreneurship & Emerging Enterprises in the Whitman School.”I believe that this truly is a result of bringing together educational resources, funding, and mentors from across the entire SU campus. The diversity in ideas and industries is impressive and underscores the idea that entrepreneurship is a viable path forward for students from every background and school. SU clearly is leading the charge in entrepreneurship education across the state.”

SU student teams advance to NYS Business Plan Competition finals

SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly), University at Albany’s School of Business, and Syracuse University will host the eighth annual New York Business Plan Competition (NYBPC) on Friday, April 28, 2017 in Albany, NY. Eleven Syracuse University student venture teams will be among the finalists competing for top state prizes.

The NYBPC is a venture creation and innovation competition established in 2010 to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship throughout New York’s colleges and universities. The 2017 NYBPC finalists were selected from regional competitions across New York State’s 10 Regional Economic Development Council zones – Capital Region, Central New York, North Country, Mohawk Valley, Finger Lakes, Western New York, Southern Tier, Mid-Hudson, New York City, and Long Island. Regional partner colleges and universities hosted semifinal competitions in their regions in late March and early April. The top teams from each of the 10 regions face off this week for the grand prize at the state finals.
The New York State winners will be selected by esteemed judges, including venture capitalists, angel investors, investment bankers, other sophisticated public and private investors, and seasoned entrepreneurs.

Compete CNY winners advancing to the finals were selected by area judges in a regional qualifier open to student entrepreneurs from Central New York colleges and universities. The regional competition was sponsored by the Blackstone LaunchPad on March 24, 2017 at Bird Library.

Winners selected to go on to the statewide competition include:

Social entrepreneurship/non-profit

  • Thrive Project, SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY, First place
  • Shine the Magazine, SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY, Second place

Clean technology

  • Spark Charge, SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY, First place
  • VFFA, SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY, Second place

Service

  • IIID, SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY, First place
  • Origin Story, SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY, Second place

Product

  • Invergo, SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY, First place
  • Schwab’s Cider Port, Wells College, Second place

Advanced technology

  • ModoScript, SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY, First place
  • SkyWorks, SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY, Second place

Software/IT

  • PowerSpike, SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY, First Place
  • Busie, SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY, Second place

Teams have the opportunity to win first, second, and third place cash prizes in each of the six tracks. Audience participants will also select a People’s Choice award in each category. Judges will also be asked to select an Esprit de Corps, an Undergraduate Excellence award, and a Community College distinction award in each category.

The awards are milestone based. Winning teams will be required to develop and meet at least two business development and two technical milestones in order to be eligible for their prize awards.

The NYBPC has grown into a statewide competition with some of the largest awards and prizes of any student business competition in the world. The NYBPC is the only leading collegiate business competition that is a regionally coordinated, collaborative statewide program representing over 75 colleges and universities, setting it apart from all other competitions in the nation.

SBIR/STTR federal grant opportunities workshop on April 21

Learn how to access over $2 billion in annual grant opportunities. The Blackstone LaunchPad is sponsoring a SBIR/STTR Federal Grant Opportunities workshop on April 21 from 1–3:30 p.m., in the Blackstone LaunchPad and Peter Graham Scholarly Commons on the first floor Bird Library.

Each year, 11 federal agencies set aside more than $2 billion to fund research and development at small businesses, through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Program.

Federal agencies issue solicitations to small companies, including start-ups, for research and product development.

Come to this workshop to learn more about SBIR and STTR programs and if they could be a tool to fund your ideas for innovation in research and new product development. Marcene Sonneborn, Professor of Practice in the School of Information Studies, and SBIR & Innovation Specialist for the CNY Technology Development Organization, will lead the workshop.

Sponsored by the Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University the workshop is open to the campus and community.

What you will learn:

  • Overview of the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer Research (STTR) programs.
  • How small businesses, manufacturers, and entrepreneurs can tap into over $2 billion in federal funding for grants and contracts to develop innovative products and services.

Who should attend:

  • Entrepreneurs seeking to start a technology business.
  • University researchers wishing to explore partnering with small businesses with a goal of commercializing University research/technology.
  • Phase I award winners planning a Phase II proposal.
  • Past Phase I applicants who have not yet won an award.

SBIR proposals are two times more likely to be funded when small businesses collaborate with a university or research institution. Find out how to make those connections at this campus-community information exchange.

Informational materials will also be provided by the Syracuse University Office of Technology Transfer.

For more details or to register, email LaunchPad@syr.edu.

First annual Thrive Together Fair to be held on April 15

Syracuse University student organization Thrive at SU and SU’s Student Association invites students, faculty, and the community to attend the campus’ first annual Thrive Together Fair on Saturday, April 15 from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Manley Field House.

Join Thrive at SU and other student organizations in celebrating the diverse cultural heritage of Syracuse through traditional performances, engaging activities, and a variety of delicious food.

All proceeds from the event will support Interfaith Works’ Center for New Americans, which resettles and integrates refugee families into the Syracuse community. Following recent policy changes, the center has seen their funding for these efforts drastically reduced.

The event will also invite speakers to discuss their stories surrounding the New American experience and life in Syracuse. Mayor Stephanie Miner and Vice Chancellor and Provost Michele Wheatly will each be in attendance and delivering remarks.

Dinner will be provided by local venues who are donating a variety of cuisines from around the world. Parking is available in the Manley Field House south lot on South Campus.

Tickets for the event cost $7 each and can be purchased at the Schine Student Center Box Office or online at boxoffice.syr.edu.

As the collegiate-level affiliate of Thrive Projects, a nonprofit that works with underserved and vulnerable communities around the world, Thrive at SU firmly believes that the strength of Syracuse is rooted in both, its diversity and sense of togetherness. Thrive at SU recognizes the important role that refugees play in the community and hopes that this event “serves as a reminder that we are at our best when we face times of struggle together.”

For more information on the event, contact Amanda Chou at aychou@syr.edu.

2017 Compete CNY – iPrize winners announced

Winners have been announced for the 2017 Compete CNY – iPrize competition, held March 24 at Syracuse University. The event was coordinated by the Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University and hosted by Syracuse University Libraries.

Open to all Central New York colleges and universities, Compete CNY was the regional qualifier for the 2017 New York State Business Plan Competition. Winners will advance to the statewide competition in Albany on April 28, and compete for a $100,000 statewide grand prize.

Syracuse University students also competed for the iPrize and the opportunity to win $40,000 provided by the iSchool through funding from the Raymond von Dran (RvD) Endowment Fund. The RvD Fund was established to honor the memory of the former iSchool dean, who helped students bring their ideas to life through the spirit of entrepreneurship. Gisela von Dran, his widow, helped award the prizes at this year’s event. She was joined by serial entrepreneur Wiley Cerilli, a former iSchool student who is co-founder of Good Uncle.

Compete CNY winners advancing to the NYS Business Plan Competition are:

Social entrepreneurship/non-profit

  • Thrive Project, SU, First place
  • Shine the Magazine, SU, Second place

Clean Technology

  • Spark Charge, SU, First place
  • VFFA, SU, Second place

Service

  • IIID, SU, First place
  • Origin Story, SU, Second place

Product

  • Invergo, SU, First place
  • Schwab’s Cider Port, Wells College, Second place

Advanced Technology

  • ModoScript, SU, First place
  • SkyWorks, SU, Second place

Software/IT

  • PowerSpike, SU, First Place
  • Busie, SU, Second place

Syracuse University iPrize winners receiving cash prizes are:

Social entrepreneurship/non-profit

  • Thrive Project, $3,000
  • Shine the Magazine,$1,500
  • North Country Meeting House, $750
  • Your World Apparel, $750

Clean Technology

  • Spark Charge, $4,500
  • VFFA, $500

Service

  • IIID, SU, $6,000
  • Origin Story, $1,000
  • Presently, $500

Product

  • Invergo, $3,500
  • CeeRide, $1,500
  • Miruku, $1,500

Advanced Technology

  • ModoScript, $3,500
  • SkyWorks, $1,500

Software/IT

  • PowerSpike, $5,000
  • Busie, $3,000
  • PairCampus $1,000
  • FreshU, $500
  • Ravel, $500

The New York Business Plan Competition is a statewide collegiate business plan competition, with participants from 70 public and private colleges and universities. Since 2010, more than 2,100 teams have pitched their ideas and ventures to venture capitalists, angel investors, investment bankers, other public and private investors and entrepreneurs. More than $2,300,000 in cash and in-kind prizes have been awarded throughout New York State, making it an important source of seed capital for student startups. Learn more about the New York State Business Plan Competition.