2017 New York Business Plan Competition Finger Lakes Region

Currently enrolled graduate and undergraduate students from accredited New York colleges and universities in the Finger Lakes Region are encouraged to submit the written application around a student-born innovation that is designed for a currently unmet need. The Regional Contest and Statewide Final Competition do not require the submission of a full business plan. A TWO-PAGE WRITTEN APPLICATION IS ALL THAT IS REQUIRED TO ENTER.

Regional Contest semi-finalists will be invited to give a 10-minute presentation followed by 5 minutes of Q&A from a panel of regional judges on April 13, 2017, hosted by RIT. The semi-finalist presentation round is a free event that is open to the public. Teams are encouraged to invite friends and faculty. The top two teams from each category (for a total of up to 12 teams from the Finger Lakes region) will be selected to participate in the Statewide Competition where they will compete against finalists from the other nine regions in New York. The judges reserve the right to select less than 12 teams from the Finger Lakes region based on the quality of the entries and presentations.

Statewide Competition finalists will be required to give a 10-minute presentation followed by 5 minutes of Q&A from a panel of statewide judges on April 28, 2017 in Albany.

Statewide Competition Sample Presentation Format Coming Soon

Teams should consist of one to a maximum of six members, excluding the advisor. Students from different academic areas are encouraged to work together to create the strongest team possible. One faculty member is required to be listed as an advisor for the team; offering guidance, support, and technical expertise. Teams must indicate whether they consist of community college, undergraduate, or graduate students, or a team with mixed student status.

Student entrepreneurs that meet the eligibility requirements (see Eligibility & Rules page or Statewide Competition FAQs) are invited to submit an application (not to exceed two written pages) for their idea or venture under one of the following six categories:
  • Information Technology / Software
  • Social Entrepreneurship / Non-Profit
  • Clean Technology
  • Advanced Technology
  • Products
  • Services
Students must indicate their category selection on the online application. Selection of an inappropriate category may be considered grounds for disqualification by the judges.


Information Technology/Software
  • Any idea, technology, product, and/or service that relates to apps, informational technology,software, and/or internet applications in for profit enterprises. If the value that your idea or technology provided lies in the creation of or is delivered through an app, then you belong in this category.
  • Examples: An app that helps pairs potential roommates, a website/app that uses social media to collect payments from friends, a web service designed to tailor resumes for specific jobs, a file sharing service, an app or website that aggregates data and reviews about solar panel installers.

Social Entrepreneurship/Non-Profit
  • Any idea, product, and/or service that addresses a social need, for which profit is not the primary motivation, or provides a product/service for nonprofits. If formed, the venture would be either a Benefit corporation or be eligible for 501(c) status.
  • Examples: Selling a good or service that raises awareness and donates significant portion of the revenues to a cause, organization that provides financial literacy training, cooperative non-profit coffee shop, bike trail, a website to connect community members with volunteer opportunities.

Clean Technology
  • Any idea, technology, process, product, and/or service that relates to energy, clean energy,renewable energy, energy efficiency, environmental, and/or sustainability applications.
  • Examples: Recycling technology, LED manufacturing technology, lithium ion batteries, clean energy crowd funding service, composting subscription service.

Advanced Technology
  • Any idea, technology, product, and/or service that relates to materials science, life science, advanced hardware, semiconductors, optics, and/or electronics applications that are not applicable to Clean technology. These products and processes have been likely developed after years of laboratory research and have patent protection.
  • Examples: High-performance skis coated with nanomaterial, vibration detector, new method for testing pharmaceuticals, physical therapy massager.

  • Any physical, tangible goods offered for sale.
  • Examples: Custom designer eyewear, vending machine, protein shakes, craft beer or alcoholic beverages, innovative water bottle, locally sourced tea, camera backpack.

  • A value add process for delivering products of fulfilling customer needs
  • Examples: Lice removal company, meal delivery, custom clothing design, custom song writing service.

Companies will be notified by March 22, 2017 if they have been selected to present in the semi-final round on April 13. Frequently Asked Questions about the Statewide Competition
Interested in sponsorship? Contact Matt Spielmann