Lally School Hosts Annual Business Plan Competition
It’s never too early to encourage college students to find a way 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 undergraduate and graduate students Feb. 26-27. This year, 20 student teams had the opportunity to pitch their budding ideas to a panel of judges comprised of community members, faculty, staff, and alumni and alumnae with varying backgrounds in entrepreneurship and business.
“The Lally School is committed to fostering entrepreneurship, innovation, and leadership,” said Thomas Begley, dean of the Lally School. “The annual competition is developmental in nature and is intended to be a precursor to other competitions on the traditional business plan competition circuit. This competition is an exciting event where student entrepreneurs compete for both cash prizes and in-kind services. Most important, the competition energizes and develops the student entrepreneurial mindset of the competitors to encourage them to believe that starting a business is a real possibility.”
Earlier in the year, students were invited to submit their business plan concepts and to participate in a series of workshops focused on helping them to prepare for the competition. Prior to the competition, participating teams also had an opportunity to sign up for practice sessions where they could receive advice from business executives affiliated with the Severino Center Entrepreneurs-in-Residence program within Lally, along with Severino Center coaches.
The aspiring entrepreneurs had their sights set on winning part of the $15,000 cash prize and in-kind services being awarded to winning undergraduate and graduate teams. First-place winners received a cash prize of $4,000. Second- and third-place winners received cash prizes of $2,500 and $1,000, respectively.
The first-place undergraduate winning team was Jago. The team is working to develop a customizable trip planning site allowing users to store their travel/vacation preferences and be given personalized search results with complete itineraries. The team members, who are all seniors majoring in management, are: David Liu ’13, Kevin Petrikas ’13, and Grant Rosener ’13.
The first-place graduate team winner was Vital VIO. The company, led by James Peterson ’12, CTO and co-founder, is working to develop a revolutionary lighting technology that can safely provide environmental disinfection in health-care facilities to reduce the rate and financial burden of hospital-acquired infections.
In its second year, the competition is sponsored by the Paul J. ’69 and Kathleen M. Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship, which helps to fos-ter new generations of budding and successful entrepreneurs through outreach programs, education, and support systems. Centered in the Lally School, the Severino Center lies at the core of the Lally School commitment to entrepreneurship, providing a broad-based platform for entrepreneurs to make the transition from concept to company.
“Students who are involved in the competition received help from a variety of resources in Rensselaer’s Emerging Ventures Ecosystem and surrounding community, including our Entrepreneurs-in-Residence, mentors from the Entrepreneurs’ Organization of Albany, our Rensselaer faculty and staff, local business leaders, and our alumni and alumnae network,” said Gina O’Connor, associate dean and professor at the Lally School and faculty director of the Severino Center.
“This competition showcases how ideas that emerge from students in any and all of Rensselaer’s schools can get the attention and coaching they need to mature from inventions to promising business opportunities that can bring value to the marketplace,” O’Connor added.