February 14, 2014

Colleges and entrepreneurs gear up for Albany-area business plan competitions

By: Megan Rogers

Source: The Business Review

Don Siegel teaches an introductory undergraduate course on entrepreneurship at the University at Albany, which covers intellectual property, business plan development, venture financing and the economics of competition.

But the most critical entrepreneurial skill is the right mindset, said Siegel, dean of UAlbany's School of Business.

"The most important thing is how do you identify an opportunity? That's what we start with," he said. "If you're going to do something entrepreneurial, it has to be something different."

It's a mindset embraced by students at area colleges and universities, where students are gearing up for several university and statewide business plan competitions. Here's a look at the upcomping competitons:

February 26: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy’s business model competition requires teams to present a business plan for a product, service, process or technique in ten minutes. The winning team earns more than $15,000 and in-kind services. All entrants receive feedback from judges and coaches.

The 2013 winning undergraduate team developed a customizable vacation and travel planning website; The winner of the graduate student category presented a plan to create light fixtures that serve as environmental disinfection systems.

April 11: The final six teams in Skidmore College's Kennith A. Freirich Business Plan Competition have plans to launch an organic farming enterprise, a luxury rum brand and lacrosse apparel company, among others. The teams compete for $20,000 on April 11. Skidmore is a private liberal arts school in Saratoga Springs.

April 3 and April 25: Ten regional semifinals in the fifth annual New York Business Plan Competition send winning teams to the final round of the statewide competition on April 25 at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering in Albany.

The Albany regional competition, hosted by the nanocollege, University at Albany's School of Business, Hudson Valley Community College and Skidmore College, is scheduled for April 3. Last year's winning team presented a business plan for WordsEye, a software system that creates 3-D scenes from verbal descriptions.The competition fielded 88 presentations. Click here to meet some of the entrepreneurs who competed.

May 21: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute hosts a business plan competition for high school students. Similar to the undergraduate and graduate competition, teams have ten minutes to present a business plan.