Inside Rensselaer
Volume 7, No. 11, June 14, 2013

Students from Poolesville High School are pictured with Professor Gina O’Connor.

Students from Poolesville High School are pictured with Professor Gina O’Connor. Photo by Julie Tracy

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, the Lally School hosted its annual business plan competition for high school students on May 29. Sixty-eight students representing 25 teams had the opportunity to pitch their budding ideas to a panel of management scholars and area business leaders.

“The Lally School is committed to fostering entrepreneurship,” said Thomas Begley, Lally dean. “This annual event encourages high school students to explore their interest in business, and entrepreneurship in particular, as well as the avenues for future college study and challenging careers. The Lally School is proud to sponsor this event, one that requires students to demonstrate important skills that include entrepreneurship, innovation, planning, analysis, and leadership.”

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

Sample business plan ideas included: a built-in visual tuning indicator for instruments; the development of custom replaceable keys for keyboards; a product designed to decrease the effects of Reactive Attachment Disorder that works to stimulate human-like interactive qualities for orphaned infants; a system that has been developed to reduce the amount of collisions between wildlife and different forms of transportation in high collision areas; the development of a workforce training facility for teens to help them gain real experience; a portable charging device to restore power to small electronics and beauty aids; and an automated lawn-mowing robot.

The aspiring entrepreneurs had their sights set on winning part of the $5,000 cash prize being awarded to winning teams as part of the Rensselaer High School Business Plan competition. First-place winners were Hydro Aid Rescue Plane, a team from Shaker High School that was awarded $2,500. The second-place winners,, from Bronx Science, received $1,500. Third-place winners Dana and Justine, a team from Emma Willard, received $1,000.

The competition is 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.

“Participation from high school students in this event has more than tripled just since last year, indicating a strong level of interest among them in creating value for society through ingenious new business ideas,” said Gina O’Connor, associate dean and professor at Lally and director of the Severino Center. “Young people who are so entrepreneurially minded will have a great impact on our region and beyond. It’s very exciting to work with these business-savvy students.”

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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 7, Number 11, June 14, 2013
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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