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Supporting Student Entrepreneurs

ALBANY, N.Y. (April 24, 2017) -- UAlbany’s Blackstone Launchpad entrepreneurship program hosted its second annual business plan competition on Friday, April 21.

Dozens of undergraduate and graduate student entrepreneurs pitched their business ideas to a panel of angel investors, venture capitalists and representatives from local incubators including Innovate 518 and IgniteU NY.

$16,000 in total was up for grabs, including a $1,000 award from corporate sponsor Erie Insurance Group. Six teams advanced to the final round. The top three winners included:

  • The MASH Card - Tiran Koren, Ben Rafael and team ($5,000)
  • CRD Energy Drink - Omar Bailey and Joshua Perdumo ($2,500)
  • Family Operating Base - Raquel Moriarty Derrick ($1,000)

“This was a fantastic opportunity,” said Omar Bailey, UAlbany senior and founder of CRD Energy Drink. “Coming into the competition, most of us did not have much experience with pitching to real investors. I am thankful that the University and Blackstone is invested in us and our ideas.”

In late March, the University also hosted the New York State Cybersecurity Innovation competition. It was open to both students and professionals in the state. UAlbany student Ryan Foster won the grand prize of $3,000 for his digital forensics/e-discovery firm, Illuminate ESI - N.Y. Foster was also a runner-up in Blackstone's competition.

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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