NEW PALTZ – The SUNY New Paltz School of Business provided an opportunity for students to create a business plan to solve a problem with the first place winner receiving a $3000.00 award for their efforts.
“The ones that are interested in this are really the ones that I think are maybe a little bit more think outside of the box students.”, said Kristin Backhaus, Dean of the Business School at SUNY New Paltz
Class professor, Tony DiMarco led the students through the process that started in August.
“The first week they brainstormed different problems that they thought they had some passion around and then they narrowed it down to one problem that they thought was a good fit for them. “, said DiMarco who also heads up the Hudson Valley Start Up Fund.
CEO and Founder of the Global Center for Social Entrepreneurship Network (GCSEN) Mike Caslin was one of three judges for the competition and noted, “There aren’t many venues like SUNY New Paltz School of Business that give such a unique opportunity; for students to not only think about their passion, put it into an actual rigorous approach, and share it with other people.”, said Caslin.
The business pitches ranged from healthy packaged meals for inner city students, a home composting/recycling/ trash unit, a ride sharing program exclusive to college campuses, and a modular furniture solution for classroom reconfiguration.
The winner of the competition was Coact Funiture, with a furniture prototype that can serve multiple seating functionality, depending on the agenda of a classroom activity.
“It was an amazing experience”, said winner Mike Brennan, “I’ve thought about starting my own business for a long time and to get in this class and learn what we have in a short amount of time has been great.”
Brennan plans to put his winnings back into the company and already has interest for outside sources.
This competition was started 14 years ago and gives students in the entrepreneurship class a sense of what it’s like to present a real business plan pitch for funding.
“Its the same structure that we see at the Hudson Valley Start Up Fund, so its a real practical experience for them.”, said DiMarco.