10 student teams to advance in statewide business plan contest

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MARCY — The State University of New York Polytechnic Institute has announced 10 teams of students have emerged as regional finalists following the conclusion of the Mohawk Valley regional semifinal of the New York Business Plan Competition, hosted by SUNY Poly.

Among the finalists, named Monday, advancing to the finals of the statewide New York Business Plan Competition are nine SUNY Poly student-led teams,
as well as one team featuring SUNY Poly and Adelphi University students that pitched plans related to the tracks listed below.

Teams comprised of SUNY Poly students that will compete in the next round include, by category:

Safety, Power & Mobility: Defense, Energy First Responder, Infrastructure, Mobility and Transportation — Dronix: Aaron Brazinski, Robert Evans, Richmond Hulse and Mara Yukna; and Repairall Auto: Bryan Barks;

Health & Wellbeing: Education, Health IT, Life Science, Medtech, and Wellbeing — Rental Fitness: Dylan Culbertson, Kevin Kaltak, Logan McClelland, Joseph O’Brien, and Carlie Shippee; Maternal Health Monitoring Service: Robert Byszynski and Linda Irizarry-Byszynski (SUNY Poly and Adelphi University);

Food: Agricultural Technology, Food Product, and Food Service — Small Farm Automation Inc: Nikolas Varrone; The Wonder of Wine: Ron LaDue, Leslie Hwaszcz, John Klaboe and Morgan Randall;

Products and Hardware — NYBraille: Zachary Westadt and Zackary Gray; Rainmote: Jackson Posloski, Logan Reinold, Jay Schmitt and Ryan Starr;

Services and Software — Bluesky Quilter, LLC: Chris Burns, Sonia Cohen, Armin Dzehverovic, Elena Ruznic, and Kira Steinwandt; Plum Tech: Michael Gray, Xavier Mandeville, Kerenza McDonald, and K’Pru Taw.

The overall winning teams received cash prizes:

First Place Grand Prize $2,000: NYBraille;

Second Place Grand Prize $1,000: Bluesky Quilter, LLC; and

Best of the Mohawk Valley $500 (company that embodies regional characteristics): Small Farm Automation Inc.

The Mohawk Valley semifinal competition drew interest from 45 students who competed as part of 18 teams. They pitched their game-changing business proposals for a chance to reach the final round and win cash prizes. Semifinal round competitions in nine other regions across New York either have been held or are scheduled to take place prior to the final round.

Hundreds of students from accredited colleges and universities throughout New York State are participating in the competition. Each team that enters pitches a business idea as part of either a virtual or in-person semifinal event. Pitches are evaluated by an experienced panel of judges comprised of business and industry professionals, with selected teams then participating in the finals to take place online the week of April 11, followed by live and online pitches April 20. After this
process, the first place teams from each track will pitch live at the Grand Prize Finals at the WCNY Broadcast and Education Center in Syracuse on Wednesday, April 27.

According to NYBPC organizers, since 2010, the NYBPC has helped to launch more than 100 student-led ventures, awarded over $1 million in prizes, and generated more than $100 million in economic impact. Upstate Capital Association of New York State is the NYBPC’s leading organization, and the initiative is sponsored by Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology, and Innovation (NYSTAR) and The Research Foundation for The State University of New York, among others.

For information about the 2022 New York Business Plan Competition, www.nybpc.org.

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