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Pitching for Cash

Youni co-founders pitch their idea to judges at UAlbany Blackstone Launchpad's 2016 business plan competition. (Photo by Mark Schmidt)

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 13, 2017) – 10 minutes. Dozens of student entrepreneurs. $16,000 up for grabs.

UAlbany’s Blackstone LaunchPad will be hosting its second annual business plan competition on Friday, April 21, offering undergraduate and graduate students an opportunity to pitch their ideas in 10 minutes to angel investors, venture capitalists and representatives from local incubators including Innovate 518 and IgniteU NY.

$16,000 in total will be awarded to the most innovative teams/companies, including a $1,000 bonus award from Erie Insurance Group.

Last year, 32 teams pitched their companies during the competition. 

Ph.D. chemistry student Tony Hoang took top prize after presenting his idea for a biotech start-up, Advanced Modular Instruments (AMI). Hoang has since launched the company and broke UAlbany’s student patent-pending record. He was also named to Albany Business Review’s 2017 “40 under 40” list and is the recipient of the publication’s 2017 Technology Entrepreneur Award.

Other winners included Youni, a new social media platform for millennials, and Moo Plans, off-campus college meal plans for upperclassman.

Blackstone LaunchPad judges

Judges from UAlbany Blackstone Launchpad's 2016 business plan competition. (Photo by Mark Schmidt) 

All three teams used the money to help with start-up costs related to their business.

“There are no losers in this competition,” said Jan Woodcock, executive director of UAlbany's Blackstone LaunchPad. “Students are developing the skills needed for career success, whether they end up self-employed, or working for another company.”

This year’s competition will take place in the Massry Center for Business, Room 151. The first round is 9 a.m. to noon. The finals are 1 to 4 p.m. Members of the campus community are encouraged to attend the pitching sessions.

Email Launchpad@albany.edu with your name and availability if you’re interested in ushering or lending a helping hand at the event.

You can also follow the competition on Twitter and Instagram.

Blackstone Launchpad at UAlbany:

In October 2015, the Blackstone Charitable Foundation announced the expansion of its Blackstone LaunchPad entrepreneurship program to five New York State universities, including UAlbany.

Through the program, UAlbany students are given access to individualized coaching as well as seminars and training sessions related to building their own business. Interested students can write business plans, complete financial analyses, and design marketing campaigns, while also being teamed up with external mentors and business incubators.

To learn more about the program, visit its official website. You can also contact executive director, Jan Woodcock, directly by email, or visit its location in the University’s Campus Center (adjacent to the Student Association offices). 

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