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Posted: Apr 27, 2012
UAlbany NanoCollege announces winners in largest-ever New York State Business Plan Competition
(Nanowerk News) Strong Arm Technologies Inc., made up of students from the Rochester Institute of Technology, beat out more than 120 teams from over 25 colleges and universities across the state to capture the grand prize in the 3rd annual New York State Business Plan Competition, held April 26 at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) of the University at Albany.
"The record number of student entrepreneurs that participated in the third annual New York State Business Plan Competition is a vivid demonstration of Governor Andrew Cuomo's strategy for regional economic development fueled by the 21st century knowledge economy," said Dean Fuleihan, CNSE Executive Vice President for Strategic Partnerships. "We are pleased to see the rapid growth of this competition, which is designed to inspire a new generation of innovative ideas and homegrown New York State companies."
The largest competition of its kind in New York, and one of the nation's biggest, this year's event drew a record number of entries, with student-led start-ups presenting business plans for innovations in the areas driving the 21st century economy, including nanotechnology, health care, information technology, and clean energy.
SEFCU served as the Title Sponsor for the event, which was presented jointly by the UAlbany NanoCollege, Syracuse University, UAlbany's School of Business, and the Lally School of Management and Technology at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Strong Arm Technologies received a $50,000 cash prize and more than $20,000 in in-kind services to support their development of the Strong Arm Vest, a form-fitting garment that incorporates a unique system of load-bearing straps to reduce both fatigue and risk potential for employees lifting boxes and other heavy objects in a materials-handling environment. The company was selected by a panel of judges that included more than 30 regional and national venture capitalists, angel investors, investment bankers, and seasoned entrepreneurs.
In addition, three teams each took home $10,000 in cash and over $2,000 in in-kind services as part of their first-place finishes within their respective categories: SofGrip Robotics Inc. of Cornell University for nanotechnology/clean tech/high tech; ShowCode of Syracuse University for information technology/software; and Innovative Delivery Systems of Clarkson University for products/services.
"We are tremendously encouraged by both the quality and quantity of New York's next generation of entrepreneurs, which was showcased at this year's New York State Business Plan Competition," said Pradeep Haldar, CNSE Professor and Head of NanoEconomics. "We are pleased to again have had the support of SEFCU as the Title Sponsor of this innovative forum, which showcases the promise and potential of New York's colleges and universities to enable the innovation that is essential to driving economic opportunity and growth."
"As Governor Cuomo likes to say, 'New York is open for business.' And, this business plan competition is a true testament to that fact. SEFCU is proud to stand side-by-side with the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, Rensselaer's Lally School of Management and Technology, University at Albany's School of Business, and Syracuse University in encouraging teams from across the state to vie for the dollars and prestige that come with this competition. The future of this region and the state as a whole will be decided by the best and brightest of today," said Michael J. Castellana, SEFCU president and CEO.
"Syracuse University is pleased to join with its colleagues at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, University at Albany and Rensselaer in supporting the outstanding New York State Business Plan Competition," said Bruce Kingma, Associate Provost for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Syracuse University. "This endeavor affords students a unique opportunity to bridge their classroom and laboratory experiences with real-world business applications, and in the process, to set the stage for tomorrow's entrepreneurs to enjoy success in the business world."
"The New York State Business Plan Competition serves as a focal point for our recent efforts to promote student entrepreneurship, and to use our new School of Business Building as the catalyst for effective commercialization of ideas and intellectual property developed at the university," said UAlbany School of Business Dean Donald S. Siegel. "I also applaud Michael J. Castellana, President and CEO of SEFCU, who received his BS and MBA from the School of Business and serves on the School of Business Advisory Council, for supporting this important competition as title sponsor."
"We are ecstatic to see the growth in number and competitiveness of the entries. We have worked very hard over this past year to engage more universities across the state by developing our champions program, and it has really worked out well. Additionally, the quality of the judging is outstanding, making this the pre-eminent competition in New York State, as was our vision," said Professor Gina O'Connor, Director of the Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship at the Lally School of Management and Technology at Rensselaer. "We have more work to do, but the progress is outstanding. This competition should become an important source of economic development in the state, and is certainly a signal of the entrepreneurial drive among our students."
Teams from the following colleges and universities participated in the competition: Binghamton University; Canisius College; Clarkson University; College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering; Columbia University; Cornell University; Fashion Institute of Technology; Hofstra University; Ithaca College; Long Island University; Marist College; New York Institute of Technology; New York University; Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Roberts Wesleyan College; Rochester Institute of Technology; Stony Brook University; SUNY Empire State College; SUNY Plattsburgh; SUNY-ESF (College of Environmental Science and Forestry); Syracuse University; Union Graduate College; School of Business, University at Albany; University at Buffalo; and the University of Rochester.
The UAlbany CNSE is the first college in the world dedicated to education, research, development and deployment in the emerging disciplines of nanoscience, nanoengineering, nanobioscience and nanoeconomics. With more than $14 billion in high-tech investments, CNSE represents the world's most advanced university-driven research enterprise, offering students a one-of-a-kind academic experience and providing over 300 corporate partners with access to an unmatched ecosystem for leading-edge R&D and commercialization of nanoelectronics and nanotechnology innovations. CNSE's footprint spans upstate New York, including its Albany NanoTech Complex, an 800,000-square-foot megaplex with the only fully-integrated, 300mm wafer, computer chip pilot prototyping and demonstration line within 85,000 square feet of Class 1 capable cleanrooms. More than 2,700 scientists, researchers, engineers, students and faculty work here, from companies including IBM, Intel, GlobalFoundries, SEMATECH, Samsung, TSMC, Toshiba, Applied Materials, Tokyo Electron, ASML and Novellus Systems. An expansion now underway, part of which will house the world's first Global 450mm Consortium, will add nearly 500,000 square feet of next-generation infrastructure, an additional 50,000 square feet of Class 1 capable cleanrooms, and more than 1,000 scientists, researchers and engineers from CNSE and global corporations. In addition, CNSE's Solar Energy Development Center in Halfmoon provides a prototyping and demonstration line for next-generation CIGS thin-film solar cells. CNSE's Smart Systems Technology and Commercialization Center of Excellence (STC) in Rochester offers state-of-the-art capabilities for MEMS fabrication and packaging. CNSE also co-founded and manages operations at the Computer Chip Commercialization Center at SUNYIT in Utica and is a co-founder of the Nanotechnology Innovation and Commercialization Excelerator in Syracuse. For information, visit www.cnse.albany.edu.