Three SUNY Cobleskill students presented business plans in the Mohawk Valley Regional Qualifier for the New York State Business Plan Competition on Friday, April 8, at SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Utica. The students had 10 minutes to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges in a “Shark Tank”-style competition for cash prizes and a chance to compete in the state finals in Albany on April 29.
The keynote address at the competition was delivered by 2015 SUNY Cobleskill graduate Greg Wilhelm, who took second place in the state finals last year for his business plan for Royal Meadery, an expanding business that he’s now running in Richmondville. Wilhelm shared advice about how to continue to pursue a business idea after the competition, as well as his experiences with beginning production, establishing suppliers, and expanding.
SUNY Cobleskill students entered business plans in the Product/Services category, Energy/Sustainability category, and Information Technology/Software category. Briana Sullivan, a senior Bachelor’s of Business Administration student, presented a plan for a company called Photovoltaics Tech. Karen Maher, senior BBA student, presented her plan for XtendMyCare. This was her second year in the competition. And Vandeth Soeu, a senior international BBA student from Cambodia, presented her plan for Monster Fishing Resort.
This year, the Mohawk Valley Regional Qualifier had more colleges participate than any other region in the state. Last year, four out of seven Mohawk Valley Regional winners took home trophies from the state finals.
This is the seventh year of the New York State Business Plan Competition. Since 2010, more than 1,600 students have competed from nearly 75 colleges and universities across the state. The winners are selected by a panel of venture capitalists, angel investors, investment bankers, and other public and private investors and entrepreneurs. In 2015, more than $1.8 million in prizes were awarded in the competition.