Students Bring Home Cash, Services for Startups at New York State Business Plan Competition

Amanda Dolan, an MBA Student in the School of Business, a Second-Place Winner in the Advanced Technology Category

Amanda Dolan, right, with Matt Watson, director of the Empire State Development's Division of Science, Technology and Innovation (NYSTAR). Photo by Laura Kozlowski.

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 8, 2018) – Amanda Dolan, an MBA student in The School of Business, won second place in the Advanced Technology category at the New York State Business Competition, held at SUNY Polytechnic Institute on April 27.

Dolan won $2,500 cash for her startup RiboDynamics, a company using technology to detect bacterial contamination and infection in milk.

Dolan worked under the mentorship of Dan Fabris, a chemistry professor at the University.

Make All Students Happy (MASH) also won the “People’s Choice” and “Undergraduate Excellence” awards, netting winnings of $1,000. MASH seeks to connect the campus community to local vendors and non-profit organizations for events, fundraisers and volunteer and internship opportunities.

The company won first place at last year’s startup competition hosted by the Blackstone LaunchPad.

2018 Innovation Competition

RiboDynamics was also the first place winner of the 2018 Innovation Competition hosted by the Blackstone LaunchPad and the School of Business on April 20. Dolan took home cash and in-kind services adding up to $30,000 in value. Blackstone-LaunchPad is a campus-based entrepreneurship program designed to support and mentor students, staff and alumni regardless of major, experience or discipline.

Dolan said she’s grateful for the support she received from professors, mentors and students from within the campus community.

“The different competitions that were hosted by the University gave me great real-world experience that I can use for larger competitions down the road,” she said. “As part of the entrepreneurship community, I got to take part in so many constructive sessions and workshops in order to figure out the best path for my business.”

First-, second- and third-place winners took home cash and in-kind services worth more than $50,000, which were donated by alumni, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and regional and national business leaders participating in the campus-wide event, according to Jan Woodcock, executive director of Blackstone LaunchPad.

“The generously donated in-kind services for intellectual property, legal, accounting, finance and venture capital are all resources that startups need desperately to launch,” Woodcock said. “This competition is evidence for how UAlbany provides dramatic opportunities for students to create successful ventures.”

In addition to Advanced Technology, categories included information technology and software, social entrepreneurship and non-profits, energy and sustainability, products, and services. More than 120 teams participated in the event from across 75 colleges and universities.

Looking Ahead

The School of Business hosted the Capital Region Business Plan Competition on April 5, which also serves as a qualifier for the New York State Business Plan Competition.

Five teams from the regional competition advanced to the statewide final, competing across six categories:
• RiboDynamics
• Mash
• eHealth Happy
• Timeless Music
• Hala Simple Technology

In conjunction with the UAlbany Innovation Center and Innovate 518, the School plans to continue hosting the regional competition, according to Matt Grattan, director of community and economic development at the University.

“Augmented by the 2018 Innovation Competition, there is now a clear pathway for student teams to explore entrepreneurship and, if serious, excel into formalized formation of a new venture,” Grattan said.

Woodcock said one of the ways that students can continue growing their startups after the spring competitions is to get involved with accelerator programs such as IgniteU NY, which focuses on developing entrepreneurs by providing key resources and amenities.

IgniteU NY is based in Troy, N.Y.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany-SUNY offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciencesbusiness, public health, health sciences, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.