2024 ACC InVenture Deadline 01/25/24

Aidan Mickleburgh, a Syracuse alum and previous ACC Inventure Prize Second Place winner
Aidan Mickleburgh, a Syracuse alum and previous ACC Inventure Prize Second Place winner

Applications are officially OPEN for this year’s ACC InVenture Prize competition! Act fast because applications close this Thursday 01.25! CLICK HERE TO APPLY The winner of the Syracuse University competition will receive an expense paid trip to compete in the ACC InVenture Prize finals from March 26-28 in Tallahassee, FL. The televised finals feature one team from each of the 15 colleges and universities in the ACC Academic Consortium who compete for $30,000 in prizes.

Teams selected from the applicant pool will compete in the live pitch Syracuse qualifier on Thursday, February 1, from 4 – 6 pm in Bird Library. Don’t miss the opportunity—submit your application before it’s too late!

ALL applicants are encouraged to join pitch workshops starting Wednesday, January 24th, from Noon-1 p.m. Led by Aidan Mickleburgh, a Syracuse alum and ACC Inventure Prize Second Place winner, and Linda Hartsock, previous director of the Blackstone LaunchPad. Virtual workshops on Jan 30 (6-8 p.m.) and in-person practice pitches on Jan 31 (11 a.m. – 2 p.m.) at Bird Library.

Competitive applications cover technology or research in areas like agriculture, biology, life sciences, medical, climate, consumer electronics, education, finance, sports, hardware, software, AI, VR, big data, autonomous devices, robotics, advanced materials, IoT, 5G, etc.

Open to undergraduates or recent degree holders (within the past year) who are original creators, inventors, or owners of the intellectual property. Teams with revenue or funding over $100,000 are ineligible. Qualifier finalists can apply for LaunchPad Innovation Fund grants and Orange Innovation Fund grants.

Syracuse University Blackstone LaunchPad Freelance and Small Business Challenge Returns on Friday, October 13

The Syracuse University Blackstone LaunchPad Freelance and Small Business Competition returns on Friday, October 13 from 12:00 – 2:30 p.m. with $2,000 in prize funding. Open to all designers, creators, producers, artisans, and small business owners to apply here before Friday, October 6.

This competition is specifically designed for students who are building a career or side hustle providing services or creating products. The competition will be judged in two different categories: Freelancing and Small Business. Freelancing includes individuals specializing in services such as graphic design, web development, videography, photography, software development, writing, and any other professional service. Small Business focuses on artisans hoping to sell their artwork, craft, and creations of all forms. 

The application asks students to submit a link to their portfolio or photo examples of their work.

The competition asks students to present a 4-minute pitch of their business, focusing on their previous work and the unique value they bring to their product or service market. While competitors are not required to have an established business before entering in the competition, they are expected to show previous work. Competitors will be asked to present a plan for the awarded funds in the case of winning the competition.

Judges will pick winners based on categories of professionalism, targeted market focus, portfolio, creative ability, and unique market value. There will be a total of four winners: first place prize of $1,000, second place prize of $500, third place prize of $400, and a fan favorite prize of $250.

Applications close for the competition on Friday, October 6. The application can be submitted here, and further competition information will be forwarded to all applicants. Please visit the LaunchPad on the first floor of Bird Library if you would like mentorship while preparing your executive summary or pitch. 

For any additional information or questions please contact competition organizer, Christy Ying Liu ’24 (Maxwell) at

The LaunchPad is the university’s resource center and accelerator for students looking to pursue owning their own business or building a side hustle. We warmly welcome all student freelancers and artisans to enter the Freelance & Small Business Competition for a chance to showcase their talent and receive funding for their future. 

Kelsey Davis ’19 G’20, takes the stage at Syracuse University Blackstone LaunchPad Ideas Festival on Sept 15

Photograph of Kelsey Davis by @jdthecombo for @hellobeautiful x @madamenoire.

Syracuse University LaunchPad alumni Kelsey Davis ’19 G ’20, Founder and CEO of CLLCTVE, is visiting from Tulsa, Oklahoma, and will give welcome remarks to kick off the Ideas Festival, a 60-second fast pitch fest designed for innovative students who are just testing out first ideas. Join the live event on Friday, September 15 at 12:00 p.m. in Peter Graham (Room 114), or register to pitch here.

Davis studied television, radio, and film at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and earned an M.S. in entrepreneurship and emerging enterprises from the Martin J. Whitman School of Management. She is the founder and CEO of CLLCTVE, a portfolio platform connecting creators, and was involved with Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University Libraries. Her impressive startup experiences got her featured as a GenZ leader in Forbes 30 Under 30, Adweek, and The New York Times. and more. She was also named one of 2022’s Influential Leaders by AACSB International, the accrediting body of business schools.

It is being organized by Innovation Mentor Andrew Kim ’24 (Whitman). “Kelsey has always been a celebrity name in the LaunchPad ever since I stepped foot in the glass box. I am very excited to have her speak at the Ideas Festival, especially in front of new and aspiring entrepreneurs potentially taking on their first competition ever. Kelsey has years of experience in the start-up space and her knowledge is truly valuable. Even if students don’t compete, coming to the event to see and learn from Kelsey is well worth the time,” says Kim.

Kim has dedicated his time at the LaunchPad to engage students from across campus, particularly those from underrepresented groups, to feel welcome taking the first step and exploring the realm of innovation, ideation, and team-building.

Participating teams will have the opportunity to win $500 in cash prizes. Winners of the on-campus competition with have the opportunity to participate in the national round of the Blackstone Charitable Foundation’s IDEAS Competition with a grand prize of $10,000.

All are welcome to attend and hear from Kelsey Davis or support the student teams.

Applications are now open for Ideas Fest

Do you have a business idea somewhere in your notebook? Have you plotted out a great idea with a friend, but find yourself stuck on what to do next? Syracuse University Blackstone LaunchPad Ideas Fest on Friday, September 15th at 12:00 p.m. in Bird Library could give you a chance to win up to $500 and support you in turning that idea into something bigger. Go to this link to apply before September 13, 2023.

The event will be a 60-second fast pitch fest designed for students who are just testing out first ideas and aren’t yet ready for prime-time business plan competitions.  You don’t need a business plan, or a pitch deck, or a polished pitch.  But you have to be “in it to win it.” 

The format is simple:  What is the problem or opportunity you are working on, and what is your idea?  Refreshments will be served, and fun prizes will be awarded for best idea and audience choice. Each entrant will win a free personal consultation on their idea with the Blackstone LaunchPad in Bird Library. 


  • Applicants must be current students (undergraduate or graduate-level) in the earliest stage of their entrepreneurial journey.
  • Applicants must be the founder or co-founder (i.e., the person with the original idea), and may apply individually or in teams of two.

With a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion, the IdeasFest especially encourages students from underrepresented and under-resourced communities, from all majors offered on campus, and students who represent multiple genders and ethnicities.

The event is being organized by Innovation Mentor, Andrew Kim ’24 (Whitman).  For more info, e-mail:

FuzeHub now accepting applications for its 2023 Commercialization Competition

Applications are now open and closes August 10, 2023 (at 4 p.m. EST).  Apply on-line here:

As part of the Jeff Lawrence Innovation Fund, FuzeHub will hold a New York State Commercialization Competition on October 16 and 17, 2023 in Saratoga Springs, NY, with an opportunity to win up to $150,000. This competition is intended to help small-to-medium size manufacturing and technology companies strengthen their “go-to-market” strategies as they move from new product/production method to marketplace.

FuzeHub is entering its seventh year hosting the Commercialization Competition, part of the Jeff Lawrence Innovation Fund. The $450,000 Commercialization Competition will feature a pitch competition showcasing innovative early-stage companies, panel discussions and networking opportunities.

Last fall, LaunchPad teams Farm to Flame Energy, Inc., and Envision Biopolymers, LLC, took home top prizes in the 2022 FuzeHub Commercialization Competition with our assistance. SparkCharge and other LaunchPad companies have also won these grants in the previous competitions.

(SparkCharge Founder Josh Aviv ’15, G’17 pictured above, far left).

FuzeHub’s Commercialization Competition was developed to support pre-revenue businesses and to target to a specific phase in a company’s product development. Funds must be used to produce, or improve upon, a working prototype or beta phase to enable the applicant to pursue additional investment and customers, leading to the commercialization of their product concept.

The Jeff Lawrence Manufacturing Innovation Fund, consisting of $1 million annually for five years, supports a set of activities designed to promote technology development and commercialization across New York State, including Manufacturing Innovation Grants, a Commercialization Competition, challenges, strategic memberships, training programs, and other resources serving small and medium sized manufacturers and companies.

FuzeHub is administering this fund as part of its role as the Empire State Development (ESD)-designated statewide Manufacturing Extension Partnership center. For more information about the Jeff Lawrence Manufacturing Innovation Fund, visit

About Jeff Lawrence

During his more than 20 years at the Center for Economic Growth, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) affiliate in the Capital Region where he served as executive vice president, and MEP Center Director, Jeff Lawrence directed programs of direct assistance to manufacturers and technology companies to increase their competitiveness. He is remembered for being an invaluable and generous mentor to many in the area’s business community and a tireless advocate for manufacturing innovation throughout New York.

Four Syracuse teams move on the New York State Business Plan Competition this week

Four teams of Syracuse University Blackstone LaunchPad were recently selected as winners of the CNY Region Business Plan Competition advancing to the next round of the New York State Business Plan Competition finals this week.

The teams and their affiliations are:

  • Many Hands, founder Travis Ghirdharie G’22 of Syracuse University
  • Pathway Prep, co-founders Mauricio Luna ’24 and Alesandra “Sasha” Temerte ’23 of Syracuse University
  • GeekOn- Colgate University
  • CognitionX, founder Sai Krishna Bolla G’23 of Syracuse University
  • Game-On – SUNY Oswego
  • Conformabelt, founder Cherry Kim ’24 of Syracuse University

The CNY regional qualifier was organized by SUNY Oswego.  It was open to any undergraduate or graduate student enrolled in a Central New York college or university, including Syracuse University, Colgate University, Le Moyne College, SUNY Oswego, SUNY Cortland, Wells College, Cazenovia College, Upstate Medical University, OCC, and CCC.

Student teams will go on to the state competition, organized by the Upstate Capital Association of NY. Learn more about the April 27 NYSBPC here: and follow the NYSBPC action here:

EO Global Student Entrepreneur Award

EO GSEA student nominees compete in qualifying competitions for the chance to win cash prizes and the opportunity to advance to the Nationals and Global Finals.

Impact Prize

SU’s Impact Prize supports student entrepreneurs who are engaged in solving some of the world’s most pressing problems through an innovative new product, service or technology.

Hult Prize

The LaunchPad coordinates SU’s campus Hult Prize competition, as part of the world’s largest student global competition for social good.  Each year features a unique theme.

New York Business Plan Competition

NYBPC is the country’s leading collegiate business plan competition with student entrepreneurs competing for a $100,000 grand prize and cash awards in six categories.