Syracuse University to host Compete CNY regional qualifier for the NY Business Plan Competition

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Since 2010, more than 4,000 students have participated in the New York Business Plan Competition (NYBPC), coordinated by The Upstate Capital Association of New York.  The NYBPC has seeded over $1M, yielding more than $20M in additional funding for more than 150 student-led ventures that have won over the past ten years. Once again, the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars at SU Libraries is pleased to host the Compete CNY, the regional qualifier for the state competition, open to students from Cazenovia College, Cayuga Community College, Colgate University, LeMoyne College, Onondaga Community College, SUNY Cortland, SUNY ESF, SUNY Morrisville, SUNY Oswego,SUNY Upstate Medical University,Syracuse University and Wells College.

Applicants can select from six tracks in which to compete. To compete in the regional qualifiers, such as Compete CNY, supply basic team information, executive summary, and pitch presentation.  More information is available here.  Applications open February 1 through March 13 on the NYBPC website  The Compete CNY competition will be held Friday, March 27 from 1—6 p.m. at Bird Library, located at 222 Waverly Avenue, Syracuse University.  The NYBPC statewide competition is held in Albany, NY. Up to 12 teams will be selected at Compete CNY to move on to this statewide competition.

AJ Damiano pitching at the NYBPC

Photo:  AJ Damiano, founder of PowerSpike, at the New York Business Plan Competition.  He won the $10,000 first prize in the information technology track, went on to be accepted into the Techstars Atlanta accelerator, and has since launched a successful New York State based company that has attracted external investors and major customers.

Compete CNY runs concurrently with the Syracuse University RvD iPrize, sponsored by the Syracuse University School of Information Studies (iSchool). It is open to any full-time or part-time undergraduate or graduate student enrolled in an accredited college or university in the CNY region (Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga and Oswego counties) is eligible.  The top two teams from each track will be selected by a panel of independent judges to move on to the statewide finals in Albany, NY for generous NYBPC prize packages.  While cash prizes are awarded at the NYBPC finals in Albany, there are no cash awards for the Compete CNY event. Syracuse University students may be eligible for RvD iPrize awards funded through an endowment at the iSchool specifically designated for that stand-alone competition.CNY and NYBPC applicants can select from six tracks, including both for-profit and non-profit ventures:

  • AgTech & Food: Ideas, technologies, processes, products, and services that relate to agriculture, food production or distribution;
  • Energy & Environment: Ideas, technologies, processes, products, and services that relate to energy, clean energy, renewable energy, energy efficiency, environmental, and/or sustainability applications;
  • Military & First Responder: Ideas, technologies, processes, products, and services that relate to the needs of utility workers, military, first responders, government applications or transportation industry;
  • MedTech & Wellbeing: Ideas, technologies, processes, products, and services that relate to biotech, sports, medical care or well-being, including mental health;
  • Consumer Products & Services: Ideas, technologies, processes, products, and services, not included in any previous category, generally intended for use by individuals or households;
  • Technology & Entertainment: Ideas, technologies, processes, products, and services that relate to consumer software and online platforms, cryptocurrency, entertainment, fintech, or music.

Judges will select finalists to move onto the state competition based on:

  • Market Opportunity: Clear market need and a plan to take advantage of the need.
  • Competitive Advantage: The product or service is something unique that has a protectable competitive advantage in the proposed market.
  • Management Capability: The team has the skills and experience to develop this venture and address the associated risks.
  • Financial Understanding: The team has a solid understanding of the financial requirements of the venture.
  • Roadmap/Growth Strategy: The team has engaged in short and long-term planning and has considered strategies for growth.
  • Sustainable Business Model: The team understands and can communicate their core business model. They have a strategy for developing a sustainable venture.

The following are the general past levels of cash prizes, however there may be changes based on sponsorships raised by NYBPC, and decisions made by the NYBPC steering committee.

  • $10,000 cash – First Place teams (1 team per track)
  • $2,500 cash – Second Place teams (1 team per track)
  • $1,000 cash – Third Place teams (1 team per track)
  • $2,000 cash – MWBE Awards (1 team per track) *Woman and Minority Business Enterprise.
  • $500 cash – Concept Stage Award (1 team per track)

Find details and competition guidelines at