Inside Rensselaer
Volume 6, No. 11, June 15, 2012

Lally School Hosts High School Business Plan Competition

It’s never too early for young students to turn an idea into a viable business, according to the Lally School of Management and Technology. To support the concept, Lally hosted its first business plan competition for high school students. On May 30, 11 student teams had the opportunity to pitch their ideas to a panel of management scholars and area business leaders.

The teams were made up of 19 high school students from Capital Region high schools, including the Academy of the Holy Names, Mohonasen, Shaker, Tamarac, and Tech Valley High School. A team of students from the Bronx High School of Science also participated.

“The Lally School is committed to fostering entrepreneurship, innovation, and leadership,” said Thomas Begley, dean of the Lally School. “Our intent is to make this an annual event to encourage high school students interested in business, and entrepreneurship in particular, to realize the opportunities for college study and challenging careers this dynamic field offers.”

Earlier in the year, students were invited to submit business plans for a student-born innovation. Additionally, students were encouraged to work together to create a multidisciplinary approach to their research and business proposals. The proposals were focused on areas related to sustainability, renewable energy, technology, services, and natural health care.

Sample business plan ideas included a simple and efficient way to secure trash cans, the use of green roofs for insulation and storm water retention, and a new boat trailer designed to prevent the spread of invasive species.

The aspiring entrepreneurs will share part of the $5,000 cash prize. The winning teams included: Amadeus, a team from Bronx Science, for an application optimized for tablets that will help any individual, from beginner to professional, recognize musical notes on any instrument; JEric Innovative Docking System, a team from Shaker High, for their telescopic boat docking system that allows users to easily place the dock in and out of the water; and PowerPix, a team from the Academy of the Holy Names, for their on-site waste decomposition system that combines microbial fuel cell technology with anaerobic digestion to create energy from organic waste.

While the inaugural competition is focused on New York-based teams, planning for the next competition is already under way and the Lally School hopes to reach out to neighboring states. They have received inquiries from two teams in China with intent to submit business proposals for the next competition.

The competition was also sponsored by the Paul J. ’69 and Kathleen M. Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship, which helps to foster new generations of budding and successful entrepreneurs through outreach programs, education, and support systems.

“We are delighted to be involved with these young entrepreneurially minded students and their teachers,” said Gina Colarelli O’Connor, professor of marketing at the Lally School and director of the Severino Center. “It’s great to see so many creative people with an interest in new business venturing and teachers who are engaged in coaching them.”

For more information about the Lally School of Management and Technology, visit To read the full press release, go to

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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 6, Number 11, June 15, 2012
©2012 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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