Business contest encourages innovative entrepreneurship

The 2013 New York Business Plan Competition Regional Contest for the Finger Lakes recently opened submissions. The competition gives student teams the opportunity to design their own innovations to satisfy unmet societal needs.

Established in 2009, the contest encourages entrepreneurship and innovation in New York state colleges.

“A lot of students want to be entrepreneurs, and this is an opportunity to try it out,” said adjunct professor of business Robert Boyd.

Entrants are encouraged to attempt to solve problems in the following categories: biotechnology/healthcare, energy/sustainability, information technology/software and nanotechnology/advanced technology. Two new categories introduced this year are products/services and social entrepreneurship/nonprofit.

Students of any major can form a team to enter the contest. Boyd said that interdisciplinary teams make the contest interesting and work well together.

“All you need is an idea,” said Boyd.

Teams must submit a paper summarizing the business plan of an idea. A panel of judges will then review the entries, and the first-level winners will then move on to the next round.

The second level of the competition involves giving an oral presentation at the Rochester Institute of Technology on April 3.

The two top teams in each category of the contest will move on to Albany for the final round on April 26.

According to the competition website, the judges will be looking for an enthralling idea and venture, as well as at the pitch quality and at the skills of the founders and team.

Professor Boyd said that the two newest categories in particular are areas that “[Geneseo] can aggressively compete in” against the University of Rochester and RIT.

This year’s winners will also share over $225,000 in prize money.