Start-Up Competition 2017

NOW April 21th, 2017!
The Blackstone LaunchPad at UAlbany is pleased to announce this year’s Student Business Plan Competition. Winners will receive prize money for their startup business.

Last year over 60 student teams entered from many different majors. The pitches generated a lot of excitement and interest from the university, community, businesses, judges, etc. Participating students learned a great deal from how to make a pitch in minutes to handling a Sharktank environment with questioning judges’. The counsel and coaching through the whole process was invaluable.

This year we are looking again for venture/startup ideas, products or services. This is an opportunity to pitch your venture idea and win prizes to support your startup. Students from all University disciplines/departments are invited to participate and any student may submit a proposal under any area. The proposals can include these categorized by the following Domain Specific Areas:

Sciences (Psychology, Sociology and Social Work)

Computer, Engineering and Atmospheric Sciences

Cyber Security, Digital Forensics and Business

Education, Fine Arts, Ethnic Studies, Language and Humanities

Physical Sciences, Public Health, Biology and RNA

Example: Build Counseling Services Practice

Example: Establish Application Development Company

Example: Offer Digital Security Consulting

Example: Retail Creative Fabric Designs for Interior Decoration

Example: Promote Weather Prediction Application


The Blackstone LaunchPad at UAlbany Student Business Plan Competition consists of two stages: Domain Specific Pitch and University-wide Final Pitch. At the first stage teams will compete within an Academic Area as defined in the chart above. A total of around $8,750 will be awarded at the Domain Specific Pitch competition. For the University-wide Final Pitch, the top winning teams will compete against each other. Three prizes totaling about $8,500 will be awarded in the University-wide Final Pitch competition. All participants will receive Blackstone LaunchPad at UAlbany “gear”.


The following are the key dates for this Competition: UPDATED TIMING & STRUCTURE

  1. Apply! Application deadline is April 10th, 2017.
    1. Fill out the following Google Form
      Selections will be made April 14th, 2017.

  2. Email draft Business Plan Pitch Presentation by April 18th, 2017:
    1. Selected entries must email their draft Business Plan Presentation (powerpoint) including the following example components to :
    2. See Business Plan Sections & Questions to Consider below. Business Plan Pitch should include (but it is your decision) Company Information/Organization, Problem Statement, Products/Services, Target Market, Competitors, Marketing/Advertising/Sales Channel Plan, Financial Plan (spreadsheet should be embedded in powerpoint document).
  3. Start Up Competition is April 21th, 2017, Round 1 in AM:
    1. The first round pitch will be a ten-minute pitch to judges comprised of entrepreneurs and venture managers with a five-minute question period. Awards will be made that day.
    2. Slide deck must be submitted to no later than April 18th, 2017 in pdf format.
  4. April 21th, 2017 University-wide Final Pitch is in PM:
    1. This Final Pitch will consist of the winners from the above Domain Specific Pitches. It also will be the 10- minute pitch to a panel of judges comprised of entrepreneurs and venture managers with a five-minute question period. Awards will be made that day.
    2. Slide deck must be submitted no later than March 17th, 2017 in pdf format.

Winners will receive prize money for their startup business expenses. These will be awarded at both competition stages. The Domain Specific Pitch Competition will award $1,000 for first prize in each Domain Specific Area. Second Place will be awarded $500 and Third Place $250 in each Domain Specific Area for a total of around $8,750 in prizes. Any student may submit a proposal under any Domain Specific Area. One $5,000 first prize will be awarded for the University-wide competition along with one second place award of $2,500 and one third place award of $1,000.

This is a great way to learn about becoming an entrepreneur and receiving free assistance. The Competitions are an opportunity to pitch your startup to industry experts. It will be fun and educational. There are prizes for all participants! If you have a startup or an idea for a business, this is your opportunity. You should enter if you:

Have an idea for a new venture, product or service

Have an idea that you are passionate about

Are able to articulate the idea in an Executive Summary

Need help developing the idea or business model plan

Have a business plan

Are willing to work with a mentor/coach

Can work on a team

Receive immediate feedback from Pitch Judges


Teams are required to email with the Subject: Blackstone LaunchPad at UAlbany 2017 Student Business Plan Competition. Please include:

(1.) Team/Company,
(2.) Domain Specific Area chosen for your venture,
(3.) 1-page Executive Summary in pdf file,
(4.) Academic Institution: University at Albany,
(5.) Team/Company Lead,
(6.) Address, City, State, Zip,
(7.) Phone,
(8.) Student ID and
(9.) Email address.

Please save files with filename formatted in this manner: first name initial last name venture name.

Any student can apply from any academic area. The Blackstone LaunchPad at UAlbany Student Business Plan Competition reserves the right to withhold prize money and/or in-kind services from winning teams who do not comply with the eligibility requirements. Prize money is for the entered venture’s business expenses. In order to be eligible to apply for and participate in the competition, all teams must meet the following criteria

  • Teams must consist of currently enrolled University at Albany undergraduate or graduate students. Students will be registered in Blackstone LaunchPad
  • Students may not participate on more than one team.
  • Student entrepreneur teams are required. Single students should talk with a Blackstone LaunchPad at UAlbany staff for guidance on creating a team.
  • Student entrepreneurs must meet with Blackstone LaunchPad at UAlbany staff prior to submitting their Business Plan.
  • A Blackstone LaunchPad at UAlbany mentor will coach for each team, offering guidance, support, and technical expertise.
  • Cumulative public and private capital raised may not exceed $100,000.
  • Full studentship ownership of venture must be 100%, but does not have to be incorporated or registered.

Below are the key Competition dates. Please remember to back up your work.

  1. By April 10th, 2017: Executive Summary one page. (Extension) OR Google Form filled out
  2. By April 18th, 2017: Selected entries must email their Business Plan Presentation, including the most of following components:
    1. See template requirements for Value Proposition, Company Information/Organization, Products/Services, Target market, Competitors, Marketing/Advertising/Sales Channel Plan, Financial Pan (spreadsheet).
    2. Final slide deck must be submitted to in pdf format.
  3. April 21th, 2017 the Domain Specific Pitch (first half of day)
  4. April 21th, 2017 Final Round Pitch
    1. Slide deck must be submitted no later than April 18th, 2017 (Same slide deck as Domain Specific).

The individual/team will decide under which Domain Specific Area their Executive Summary will be submitted. For example, an art student may have an idea for an art related service or product that requires technology, education or another discipline’s tool or skill. Students are invited to attend the Business Plan Development Series offered Blackstone LaunchPad UAlbany during the semester. Mentoring and other support will be available to help students create their business plans. Students will have a chance to refine their business plans between the two stages of competition.

Judging will be based initially on the Executive Summary, the Business Model Canvass and the Business Plan. The Pitches will be evaluated by the judges. Judging criteria include:

(1.) Completion of the items submitted;
(2.) Clarity of the Executive Summary in presenting the idea for a product or service;
(3.) Completeness of the Business Model Canvass and Quality of Business Plan content, format, fiscal and revenue plans, marketing plan including: innovativeness of plan, feasibility of getting product to market, evidence of customer demand for product and likelihood of attracting investors; and
(4.) Pitch, a clear, concise, effective overview of the venture, product or service, and the ability to succinctly respond to judges’ inquiries and give substantive answers.

Business Plan Sections & Questions to Consider:

    1. Company Description:
      • What is your Idea?
      • Can you clarify what your idea is?
      • What is the value of your idea?
      • What kind of business are you building (for example, for profit or not-for-profit?)
      • What is the strategy and plan of action?
      • What is your proposed Legal Structure?
        • Sole Proprietorship
          • Personally liable for all debts incurred
          • Not filed with the State
        • Partnership
        • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
          • Small business / No corporate formalities
          • Limited liability for members
        • Business Corporation/S-Corporation
          • Large entities / Shareholders
          • Limited liability for shareholders
    1. Product/Service:
      • What do I offer?
      • Is it a product and/or a service?
      • How will I produce and distribute it?
      • How will I deliver my product/service?
    1. Value Proposition:
      • What problem am I addressing?
      • How will I make money in this business?
      • Do I need to scale before I make money?
      • Where will my business be located?
      • Who is my competition?
    1. Target Market:
      • Who are your customers?
      • How large are the customer segments?
      • What demographic are you planning to sell to?
      • How do you support them?
    1. Competitors:
      • Who else is doing this?
      • How do you plan to differentiate your business from theirs?
      • Why will people do business with you?
      • Why am I different from my competitors?
    1. Marketing/Sales Channel Plan:
      • How do you reach your customers?
      • Which media forms (printed advertising, social media tools, word-of-mouth, etc.) will you use?
      • How do you sell?
      • Do you need sales people?
    1. Financial Plan:
      1. What is your 3 year financial plan?
      2. What Revenue Sources will you have?
      3. What costs will you have?

For any questions, please reach out to:
Blackstone LaunchPad at University at Albany Staff