Syracuse teams sweep the NYS Business Plan Competition; Spark Charge wins grand prize

Syracuse University student entrepreneurship teams dominated the eighth annual New York Business Plan Competition (NYBPC) on Friday, April 28, 2017 in Albany, NY, capturing the grand prize as well as taking first place honors in four out of the six main categories.  No institution in the history of the competition has achieved anything like this success at a single event.

The statewide NYBPC offers the largest prizes of any student business competition in the world, awarding $160,000 at this year’s competition, with the winners being selected by expert judges including venture capitalists, angel investors, investment bankers, public and private investors, and seasoned entrepreneurs. On Friday, Syracuse University student teams came home with $140,000 of that prize money, competing against 120 teams from more than 75 colleges and universities from New York State’s ten 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).

Our NYBPC prizewinners came from across Syracuse University’s schools and colleges, and included:

  • $10,000 First Place, Service: IIID [3D printed architectural elements for the historic preservation industry]

In addition, Syracuse University teams also won the following prestigious NYBPC awards:

  • Undergraduate Excellence Award: Busie [quoting and booking app for charter bus operators]
  • People’s Choice Award: Shine the Magazine [online publication for teenagers and young adults with disabilities]
  • Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) Awards: Origin Story [subscription service of artist/maker products for niche consumer market]; Modo Script [smart pill device integrated with mobile app to help combat the opioid epidemic]

Compete CNY, the NYBPC qualifying competition for the Central New York region, was held in March 2017 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 in March, the School of Information Studies offered $40,000 in prize money at that event from The Raymond von Dran Fund for Student Entrepreneurship (RvD iPrize). Winners from Syracuse University at the regional Compete CNY who went on to statewide success in last Friday’s New York Business Plan Competition also won iPrize awards, including 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).

Spark Charge also won $7,500 in the recent Whitman School’s Panasci Business Plan Competition funded through the Fetner Prize in Sustainable Enterprise and Goldberg Prize for Technology and Innovation.