The New York Business Plan (NYBPC) held its Grand Prize finals last week at Venture NY, the marquee early-stage event hosted at WCNY – PBS. Grand Prize winner was Photonect from the University of Rochester, a fiber-to-chip attachment. First place in the Ag & Food Tech division went to Syracuse University student Noah Mechnig-Giordano, founder of Happy Loose Leaf Tea. This is the second time in a month that Noah was featured on a PBS broadcast, appearing earlier in April in the ACC InVenture Prize, televised by PBS Atlanta. Noah is an Engineering and Computer Science & MBA student in the 3/2 program.
Upstate Capital has been leading the statewide intercollegiate entrepreneurship competition for the past 5 years to support New York’s next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders. The NYBPC has 3 goals: to develop entrepreneurial mindsets and skills, to build personal networks connecting students to organizations in New York, and to launch new ventures. The program started in 2010 and has served more than 6,000 students and helped launch 100s of ventures.
The NYBPC is supported by over 100 people and organizations with personal donations and corporate sponsorships, including NYSTAR, the SUNY Research Foundation, NY Ventures and the Techstars Foundation.
Upstate Capital’s President and CEO, Noa Conger-Simons says, “This program has impacted more than 6,000 students since its inception in 2010, with more than $150M of economic impact that can be attributed to student-led ventures that have gone through the program, and hundreds of innovations that have led to commercialization over the past decade.”
Since March, student teams from across the state competed first at the regional level and next through two rounds of competition at the state level. Every team competed in one of six industry tracks: Food & Agtech, Safety, Power & Mobility, Health & Wellbeing, Media, Art & Entertainment, Software & Services, and Products & Hardware. On April 27, the top team from each of the six tracks competed for the Grand Prize.
Five special prizes were awarded, three of which supported under-represented founders, sponsored by organizations that helped to establish the criteria for the award. In total, the NYBPC awarded $50,000 in cash prizes to more than 20 teams from more than 200 teams that competed.
About Upstate Capital: The Upstate Capital Association of New York connects investors across the capital stack to opportunities across New York. The member-driven organization increases access to capital for companies and deal flow for investors by maintaining a robust, statewide network of capital providers, professional advisors and supporting organizations. Through regular events and educational content, Upstate Capital facilitates the development of relationships and knowledge to support the PE + M&A community and the VC + Growth ecosystem.