New York Business Plan Competition student award winners announced



Student team ‘UMA Bioseed’ receives $100,000 grand prize for a unique seed coating enabling higher crop yields

SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (SUNY Poly CNSE), in collaboration with Title Sponsor SEFCU, announced that UMA Bioseed, composed of students from Cornell University, was selected as the $100,000 grand prize winner of the sixth annual New York Business Plan Competition in which more than 500 student-led teams sought to compete at the April 24 final round, held at SUNY Poly CNSE.


In addition to the grand prize-winning team which took first place in the Energy/Sustainability track, five other 1st place finishing teams each took home $10,000 within their respective categories: ACV Metrology from SUNY Poly CNSE for Advanced Technology/Nanotechnology; Trainsmart from SUNY Geneseo for Biotechnology/Healthcare; Volu from Syracuse University for Social Entrepreneurship/Non-Profit; Think Olio from CUNY - Baruch College for IT/Software, and Four Score Jeans from Clarkson University for Products/Services. SUNY Poly CNSE teams LuxOrioN and Brewminder placed second in the Energy/Sustainability track and third in the Advanced Technology/Nanotechnology track, respectively.


The New York Business Plan Competition drew interest from more than 500 student-led startups, with teams representing 65 colleges and universities pitching their business plans for innovations in a variety of sectors that are growing New York State’s advanced economy, including nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, and clean energy, among others. Competitors represented all 10 of the state’s economic development regions, as defined by Governor Cuomo’s Regional Development Councils that were created to expand economic opportunities throughout New York State.


Title Sponsor SEFCU provided significant support for the competition, in addition to Lead Sponsor NYSERDA; Institutional Sponsors First Niagara and Empire State Development’s Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR); Friend Sponsors National Grid, Anchor Agency, Center for Economic Growth, Albany Medical Center, New Energy New York, and FuzeHub; Associate Sponsor Arsenal Business and Technology Partnership; Support from Skipso Labs; Supporting in-kind Sponsors Troy Web, Albany Business Review, Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti, Reitler, and CDTA; and Friend in-kind Sponsors Pinnacle, Nixon Peabody, Schwartz Heslin Group, Teal Becker, and NY Excel.


The New York Business Plan Competition was once again presented by SUNY Poly CNSE, the University at Albany’s School of Business, and Syracuse University. A panel of national venture capitalists, angel investors, investment bankers, and seasoned entrepreneurs selected the winning teams.


“SEFCU is proud to once again partner with SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, University at Albany’s School of Business, Syracuse University, and more than a dozen trailblazing corporate partners to present the sixth annual New York Business Plan Competition, as we aim to encourage entrepreneurship with this powerful program by enabling students to pitch their innovative business plans to investors,” said Michael J. Castellana, SEFCU President and CEO. “This program not only helps to keep students and their businesses right here in New York, it sends the message that a vibrant higher education system is a catalyst to strong economic growth,” Castellana added.


“Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s leadership in developing educational and business opportunities continues to drive exciting programs like the New York Business Plan Competition, which provides students with an unmatched avenue for bringing their ideas to market,” said Dr. Pradeep Haldar, CNSE VP of Entrepreneurship Innovation and Clean Energy Programs and Professor and Head of Nanoeconomics. “With support from Title Sponsor SEFCU, in addition to support from NYSERDA, this competition is a critical means for providing students with the chance to bridge classroom learning with real-world business principles to achieve a unique business experience which can lead to lasting success. Moreover, the New York Business Plan Competition underscores the success of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s high-tech agenda for New York State, leading to a burgeoning 21st Century economy and an unmatched ecosystem for research, development, and commercialization that is increasingly keeping New York’s students and their ideas right here.”


UMA Bioseed, led by Cornell University students Margaret Wu, Abhijeet Bais, and Brennan Duty received the $100,000 grand prize, which will support further development of their novel organic crop seed coating solution that destroys pathogens that surround a planted seed. This unique approach can increase crop yield without the use of harmful pesticides or the deployment of genetic modifications to spur healthy seed growth.


“NYSERDA is pleased to support the New York Business Plan Competition, and in particular, the energy/sustainability track, as it holds incredible promise for the development of cutting-edge technologies and business concepts by New York’s top college students,” said NYSERDA President and CEO John B. Rhodes. “We commend the students who participated in this competition, and who are representative of the State’s next generation of business and industry leaders.”


“UAlbany’s School of Business is honored to present the New York Business Plan Competition with SUNY Poly CNSE and Syracuse University. It is the perfect complement to the School of Business’s award-winning SEED Program, our Young Entrepreneur's Academy, new educational programs in entrepreneurship, and the state-of-the-art $64 million School of Business building which opened recently, all of which are laser-focused on empowering students with the skills that are crucial for success in the business world that is growing ever more complex,” said UAlbany School of Business Dean Donald S. Siegel. “I applaud our partners, including SUNY Poly CNSE and Syracuse University, as well as Michael J. Castellana, President and CEO of SEFCU, who graduated from the School of Business and serves on the School of Business Advisory Council, for his steadfast support of this powerful competition as a title sponsor, ensuring untold opportunities for New York State’s college entrepreneurs.”


“Syracuse University is excited to partner with SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s Colleges of Nanoscale Science and Engineering and the University at Albany’s School of Business to provide the sixth annual New York Business Plan Competition as a critical platform for providing one-of-a-kind opportunities for New York’s collegiate entrepreneurs,” said Stacey Keefe, Executive Director of the Raymond von Dran Innovation and Disruptive Entrepreneurship Accelerator (RvD IDEA) at Syracuse University. “This competition inspires students to challenge themselves with the creation and deployment of novel business concepts that will undoubtedly prepare them for future business success.”


Teams from the following colleges and universities participated in the final round of the competition: SUNY Polytechnic Institute (including teams from both the Albany and Utica campuses); Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; University at Albany; Skidmore College; CUNY - Queensborough Community College; CUNY - Queens College; CUNY - Baruch College; CUNY - Hunter College; CUNY - Medgar Evers College; Farmingdale State College; Molloy College; Stony Brook University; SUNY Geneseo; Rochester Institute of Technology; University of Rochester; Hobart and William Smith Colleges; Marist College; Culinary Institute of America; United States Military Academy at West Point; Nyack College; Bard College; University at Buffalo; Daemen College; Paul Smith's College; Clarkson University; SUNY Potsdam; Syracuse University; Utica College; SUNY ESF; SUNY Oneonta (Cooperstown Grad Program); Morrisville State College; Hamilton College; SUNY Cobleskill; Mohawk Valley Community College; Ithaca College; Cornell University; and Binghamton University.

SUNY Polytechnic Institute