The Mark Ain Business Model Competition, established in 2007, provides aspiring student entrepreneurs at the University of Rochester an opportunity to present their business idea (in any industry) and compete for $13,500 in cash prizes. The competition is preceded by a series of workshops that cover such topics as: articulation of their concept, sizing up market dynamics, development of business and operational models, and exposure to startup implementation issues. The workshops are free and open to the public and are not a prerequisite for the competition.

The competition is open to current University of Rochester students at any level of study, and is made possible by support from Simon alumnus and entrepreneur Mark S. Ain ’67S (MBA), founder of Kronos Incorporated, the Chelmsford, Massachusetts-based market leader in the workforce management industry.

The University of Rochester is committed to providing inclusive experiences and equal access to programs and services. If you anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the access provided, please contact AinCFE@rochester.edu. In all situations, a good faith effort (up until the time of the event) will be made to provide accommodations.


  • Applications must be submitted online. Click the Apply button to the right to access the online application.
  • All competition participants must currently be enrolled at the University of Rochester. Only active UR students in good standing are eligible to present the business model in the semi-final and final rounds and receive prize money. However, companies may include non-UR students on their executive team.
  • Students from both undergraduate and graduate programs are encouraged to participate.
  • Workshop attendance is free and open to all members of the University and general public.


  • Teams may consist of no more than five individuals and it is recommended to have at least two members on each team.
  • All deadlines for the current academic year are listed to the right:
    • First deadline: submissions for the preliminary written round of judging
    • Second deadline: the ten (10) semi-finalists must submit their complete business plans online
    • Third deadline: the ten (10) semi-finalists must submit their presentations (slide decks) online
  • The business model must be in the idea, development, or start-up stage. Entries for a business that is already earning revenue will not be considered.
  • Teams that have previously won prizes in an Ain Center competition may not enter the same competition with the same venture a second time.


Cash prizes have been made possible by the generous donation of Simon alumnus Mark S. Ain ’67S (MBA), founder of Kronos Incorporated.

  • 1st Place: $10,000
  • 2nd Place: $2,500
  • 3rd Place: $1,000

Only students listed in the Team Member section of the Competition Application will be eligible for any prize money awarded. Prize money will be split evenly among all team members listed in the application. No exceptions.

If a competition entry is based on work completed for a class AND if any student(s) who contributed to said work but are not taking part in the competition, they must provide written consent to the Ain Center stating that they consent to use of their work and forfeit any claims to any prize money won.

Cash prizes are not tax-exempt. International students may have additional holds; please contact ISO with any questions.

Guidelines for Submissions

  • Entries must be submitted via the online application and should address issues such as a market assessment, technical viability (if applicable), financial projections, management viability and potential for scalability. A business feasibility outline resource guide is available and participants are encouraged to use this resource in writing their business models.
  • Online applications must include the following information and will be limited to two (2) pages through the form (not including appendices; below word counts are only a guideline):
    • Team/Company Name
    • Industry
    • Management Team Members: Include full names, titles, Schools, and class years
    • Management (100 words): Explain what makes your team ideal to build this business
    • One Line Pitch (30 words)
    • Abstract (100 words)
    • Customer Problem (40 words)
    • Your Solution (100 words)
    • Target Market (100 words): Include market size, growth rate, segmentation, and market structure where applicable
    • Marketing & Sales Strategy (100 words)
    • Business Model (40 words)
    • Competition (100 words)
    • Competitive Advantage (100 words): List barriers to entry, any patents, and/or technology
    • Funds Needed
    • Use of Funds
    • Financial Snapshot: Show total revenue, total expenditure and net for each year over a 5-year projection period
    • Exit Strategy
    • Appendices: Include any diagrams that show or demonstrate your product or service
  • Complete business plans must be no longer than 10 pages written, and no more than 20 pages total with supporting graphs, charts, financials, etc.


  • The first round screening, preliminary judging, will be based on the review of the written application information. Up to ten (10) semi-finalist teams will be selected.
  • The second round screening, semi-finalist judging, will be based on an oral presentation of the business model, including slide decks, and the full, written business plan of the semi-finalist teams.
  • Up to five (5) finalist teams will have the opportunity to practice their presentations with coaches prior to the final competition round. The five (5) finalist teams will present their business models to a judging panel in mid-May for prize consideration. Winners will be announced the day of the finalist competition.


Ain Competition Judging Rubric - Download Now
Business Feasibility Study Outline - Download Now
Business Model Canvas - Download Now

2023 Winners

  • 1st Place:  Penpal – Tamuda Chimhanda ’26 (Computer Science), Samuel Henderson ’25 (Computer Science), Alessio Simoya ’22 (Computer Science)
  • 2nd Place: Instaboard – Andy Zhou ’23 (Applied Mathematics, Finance), Lauren Yu ’23 (Information Systems, Data Science)
  • 3rd Place: Piyata – Paterne Iradukunda ’23 (Electrical and Computer Engineering), Isaac Ayeyi Turkson ’23 (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
  • Finalist: Rempay – Solomon Afotey (MBA, Business Administration), Olayemi Ajibade ’22 (MBA, Business Administration)
  • Finalist: Alpha Collaboration – Vincent Chen ’27 (Applied Mathematics), Haotian Gao (Business Analytics), Hao Chen

2022 Winners

  • 1st Place:  RHM Innovations Inc. – Brandon Davis ’23 (PhD, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology), Courtney Burris ’23 (PhD, Industrial and Systems Engineering)
  • 2nd Place: Photonect – Juniyali Nauriyal ’23 (PhD, ECE),
    Sushant Kumar ’24 (PhD, Optics)
  • 3rd Place: Bio-Spire – Amanda Adams ’22 (BS, Biomedical Engineering), Maria Schapfel ’23 (BS, Molecular Genetics), Tiana Saloman ’22 (BS, Biomedical Engineering), Tracey Moyston ’22 (BS, Biomedical Engineering), Anca Frasineau ’22 (BS/BA, Molecular Genetics and Chemistry)
  • Finalist: Bubble Trouble – Michael Lee ’22 (MS, Biomedical Engineering), Warish Orko ’22 (MS, Biomedical Engineering), Samuel C. Marquet ’22 (MS, Biomedical Engineering), Mark Truskinovsky ’22 (MS, Biomedical Engineering)
  • Finalist: ScrewIT Kit – Abbi Miller ’22 (MS, Biomedical Engineering), Allison Coon ’22 (MS, Biomedical Engineering), Sylvia Zhong ’22 (MS, Biomedical Engineering), Haotian Li ’22 (MS, TEAM)

2021 Winners

  • 1st Place:  Advanced Growing Resources – Francis Pellegrino ’22 (BS, Optical Engineering); Heriniaina Rajaoberison ’22 (BS, Optical Engineering); Andrew Thankson ’22 (BS, Computer Science)
  • 2nd Place: Neuro 2.0 Technologies – Matthew Izard ’20 (BS, Biomedical Engineering), ’21 (MS, Biomedical Engineering); Julia Schroth ’21 (MS, Biomedical Engineering); Huaze Xie ’22 (MS, Optics)
  • 3rd Place: Guild Me – Stephanie Marvin ’22 (MBA)
  • Finalist: RHM Innovations – Brandon Davis ’20 (MS, Biochemistry), ’23 (PhD, Biochemistry)
  • Finalist: Modern Spine – Jared Ocasio ’21 (MS, Biomedical Engineering); Charles Patterson ’20 (BS, Biomedical Engineering), ’21 (MS, Biomedical Engineering); Nina Stash ’20 (BS, Biomedical Engineering), ’21 (MS, Biomedical Engineering)

2019 Winners

  • 1st Place:  Successful Heart Solutions – Vinny Costantino ’19 (MBA); Joe Geiger ’19 (MBA); Yangyang Shao ’19 (MS, Technical Entrepreneurship and Management); Jonathan Yakubov ’19 (MS, Technical Entrepreneurship and Management)
  • 2nd Place: StrongBrain – Max Sims ’16 (BA and BS, Business and Neuroscience), ’19 (MBA)
  • 3rd Place: MyStohos – Arjun Arora ’19 (MBA); Steven Chew ’19 (MBA)
  • Finalist: EZ Water – Afnan Ahmed ’21 (BS, Chemical Engineering); Syed Muhammad Miqdad ’19 (BS, Chemical Engineering); Claude Mulindi ’22 (BS, Chemical Engineering); Derrick Murekezi ’19 (BS, Geological Sciences)
  • Finalist: WetWare Systems – Nicholas Drogo ’19 (BS, Biomedical Engineering); Andrew Kaseman ’21 (BS, Biology); Scott McKinney ’21 (BS, Computer Science); Oliver Ostriker ’19 (BA, Financial Economics); Bradley Smith ’20 (BS, Neuroscience)

2018 Winners

  • 1st Place:  CompreSure Medical – Alyssa Lopez ’18 (MS, Biomedical Engineering); Gregory Dadourian ’18 (MS, Biomedical Engineering); Meghann Meyer ’18 (MS, Biomedical Engineering); Rachel Zimmer ’18 (MBA, Business Administration)
  • 2nd Place: ADASI – Rebecca Amorese ’18 (MS, Biomedical Engineering); Amanda Smith ’18 (MS, Biomedical Engineering); Evan Sosnow ’18 (MS, Biomedical Engineering)
  • 3rd Place: Prosthesis for a New Syria – Ibrahim Mohammad ’23 (PhD, Mechanical Engineering); Omar Soufan ’18 (MS, Technical Entrepreneurship and Management)
  • Finalist: GOAT Industries – Chibueze Onwunaka ’20 (EdD, K-12 Education Leadership)
  • Finalist: UR Connected – Allen Chen ’19 (BS, Neuroscience); Krista Pipho ’18 (BS, Biochemistry); Brandon Smart ’19 (BS, Computer Science and Finance); Hetince Zhao ’18 (BS, Biomedical Engineering)

2017 Winners

  • 1st Place (TIE): Meliora Homes (Team Meliora) – Edgar Alaniz ’17 (BA in Biology and Clinical Psychology); Carlos “Yuki” Gonzalez ’17 (BA in Financial Economics); Ibrahim Mohammad ’17 (BS in Mechanical Engineering and BA in Mathematics); Omar Soufan ’17 (BS in Biomedical Engineering)
  • 1st Place (TIE): Proteus Medical – Connor J. McBride ’17 (BS in Biomedical Engineering); Edward F. Ruppel ’17 (BS in Biomedical Engineering); Chandler W. Woo ’17 (BS in Biomedical Engineering)
  • 3rd Place: Chalaza Technologies – Sean Humesky ’17 (MS in TEAM); Lei Liao ’17 (MS in TEAM); Kristopher Page ’17 (MS in TEAM); Brianna Rockwell ’17 (MS in TEAM)
  • Finalist: Blush Bokonzi – Mahodo Marthe Avissoudo ’17 (BS in Mechanical Engineering); Gaella Kabeya ’18 (BS in Brain and Cognitive Sciences)
  • Finalist: Nutrascientia – Florencia Spinella ’17 (MS in TEAM); Steven Teng ‘17S (MS in Finance); Xiaoyu Xu ‘17S (MS in Finance)

2016 Winners

  • 1st Place: 0Limits – Facundo Ciancio ’16 (MS in TEAM); Ian Lin ’16 (MS in TEAM); Alvise Pallaro ’16 (MS in TEAM); David Thomas ’16 (MS in TEAM)
  • 2nd Place: StimSense – Martin Gitomer ’16 (MS in Biomedical Engineering); Alin Ponici ’14 (BS in Biomedical Engineering), ’16 (MS in TEAM); Shwe Pyie ’16 (MS in Biomedical Engineering); Jia Shi ’16 (MS in TEAM)
  • 3rd Place: Endogenesis – Aaron Allen ’16 (MS in TEAM); Ryan Dawes (PhD Candidate in Neuroscience); Benjamin Feifke ’15 (BS in Optics), ’16 (MS in Data Science); Anchal Sharma ’15 (MS in Optics)
  • Finalist: InstaCharge – Ninoshka Fernandes ’14 (MS in Biomedical Engineering), ’16 (MS in TEAM), (PhD Candidate in Biomedical Engineering); Qi Tang ’16 (MS in TEAM); Isaac Tung ’16S (MBA); Shujing (Juno) Yu ’16 (MS in TEAM)
  • Finalist: Stoma, LLC – Madhu Ashok ’14 (BS in Optics), ’16 (MS in TEAM); Christi Fox ’17 (MS in TEAM); Shubham Jain ’16 (MS in TEAM); Adalberto Perez ’15 (BS in Mechanical Engineering), ’16 (MS in TEAM)

2015 Winners

  • 1st Place: Motion Correct – Junning Chai ’15 (MS), Sairam Ramasubramaniam ’15S (MBA), Nishant Saboo ’15S (MBA), Wenli Wang ’11 (MS) and PhD Candidate
  • 2nd Place: Null Space – Lucian Copeland ’15, Alexander Matthers ’15
  • 3rd Place: Fuse-UR – Elie Farah ’15S (MBA), Kierstan Ryan ’15 (MS), Brian Shen ’15 (MS) and PhD Candidate, Megan Stockdill ’15 (MS)
  • Finalist: – Seth Reining ’15 (MS), Anthony Yee ’15 (MS) and PhD Candidate, Xiangzhi Yu, PhD Candidate, Yang Zhao, PhD Candidate
  • Finalist: Loopality – Travis Church ’15S (MBA), Helen Wang ’15S (MBA)

2014 Winners

  • 1st Place: SmartDialysis – Li “Adam” Deng ’14 (MS), Steven Gillmer (PhD Candidate), Kenneth Goodfellow ’14 (MS), (PhD Candidate), Aizhong Zhang ’14 ’14 (MS), (PhD Candidate), Bowei Zhang ’14 (MS)
  • 2nd Place: Ovlay – Joungyoon “Felix” Kim ’14
  • 3rd Place: ClarElast – Yonghao “Max” Deng ’14 (MS), Jennifer Fadimba ’14 (MS), Ken Oyeka ’14 (MS), Alexander Partin ’14 (MS), (PhD Candidate)
  • Finalist: MelioraTx – Christopher Henry ’14S (MBA), Laura Jo Marino ’15S (MBA), Audrey McNamara ’14S (MBA), Raul Salinas ’14S (MBA)
  • Finalist: PROTEA Medical – Ryan DeAngelis ’14 (MS), Christine Donivan ’14S (MS), Jess Indyk ’14 (MS), Stephen Zhang ’14 (MS)

2013 Winners

  • 1st Place: Health Care Originals – Sharon Samjitsingh ’13 (MS), Prinson Dsouza ’13 (MS), Ran Gao ’13 (MS), ChenChen Qu ’13 (MS)
  • 2nd Place: SMP MicroStamps – Megan DeWitt ’13 (MS), Andrew Durney ’16 (PhD), William Finnie ’13 (MS), Kwaku Owusu ’14S (MBA)
  • 3rd Place: Ovitz – Joungyoon “Felix” Kim ’14, Gyeonghun Lee ’13S (MS), Hyieop Lim ’13S (MS)
  • Finalist: SixFold Equity – Alicia Henn ’13S (EMBA), Martin Birmingham ’13S (EMBA), Anthony Froix ’13S (EMBA), Nancy Sutton ’13S (EMBA), Michael Van Meter ’13S (EMBA), Marcos Rodriguez ’13S (EMBA)
  • Finalist: Formation 3D – Steven Trambert ’13, Alex Feiszli ’14, Eric Frank ’13

2012 Winners

  •  1st Place: LighTip – Cristina Canavesi (PhD), Nebiat Kidane ’12 (MBA), Cheng Shu ’12 (MS), Luis Soto ’12 (MS)
  • 2nd Place: Mono-Mano – Travis Block ’12 (BS), Sara Hutchinson ’12 (BS), Dominic Marino ’12 (BS), David Narrow ’12 (BS), Martin Szeto ’12 (BS)
  • 3rd Place: TrueSeal – Shaojie Liu ’12 (MS), Rachel Rakvica ’12 (MS), Sijia Sun ’12 (MS), Ethan Williams ’12 (MBA)
  • Finalist: Kukla Tea Company – Clarissa Perkins ’12 (BA)
  • Finalist: Poseidon – Nicole Varble ’12 (MS), Christopher McLane ’12 (MBA), Laurana Ryback ’12 (MS)

2011 Winners

  • 1st Place: Maravilla – Henry Eshenour ’11 (MBA), Tim DeGrave ’11 (MBA), Christopher Larsen ’11 (MBA)
  • 2nd Place: TaaDoo – Kevin Beavers ’11 (EMBA), Chad Carta ’11 (MBA), Brennan Mulcahey ’11 (MBA), David Reiner ’11 (MBA)
  • 3rd Place: OmNeo, LLC – Benjamin Freedman ’11 (BS), Johanna Kelly ’11 (BS)
  • Finalist: MRSA – Boris Alvarez ’11 (MS), Daniela Santibanez ’11 (MS), Sergio Toloza ’11 (MS)
  • Finalist: VendiCab – Seth Hauben ’11 (MBA), Alex Sylvester ’11 (MBA), Maya Boyd ’11 (MBA), Deirdre Corbi ’11 (MBA), Stanley Cheung ’11 (MBA)

2010 Winners

  • 1st Place: MediTel Health Solutions – Benjamin George ’13 (MD) and Jason Reminick ’13 (MD and MBA)
  • 2nd Place: QMD Biosystems – Christophe Dorrer’11 (MBA), Soumya Mitra ’10 (MBA), and Jie Qiao ’11 (MBA)
  • 3rd Place: I-Squared Materials – Sriram Atchutuni ’10 (EMBA), Pankaj Gupta ’13 (PhD), Nitin Tyagi ’11 (MS), and Weston Wicks ’11 (MBA)
  • Finalist: Oregano.com – Byron Barnes ’10 (MBA), James Hart ’10 (MD and PhD), Brian Jenssen ’10 (MD), Jason Morrow ’10 (MBA), and Alexander Pearson ’10 (MD and PhD)
  • Finalist: Arm EmBrace – Sara Ripp ’10 (BS) and Kerry Wang ’10 (BS)

2009 Winners

  • 1st Place: CustomEyes – Melissa Chow, Ying Geng, Rodrigo Mancilla, Abbie Tippie
  • 2nd Place: MCH Management – Christopher Czarnecki, Jeffrey Haniff, Brian Mirochnik
  • 3rd Place: Polynet Technology – Cheryl Blechman, Woojin Han, Alvin Lomibao, Charity Wallace
  • Finalist: Brightwave Solar, Inc. – Eric Christensen, Xinye Lou, Jonathan Sherwood, Raisa Velthuis
  • Finalist: Target Waveform, Inc. – Prashant Baveja, Shih-Shuan (Sean) Hsu, Matt Piede, Christy Sheehy

2008 Winners

  • 1st Place: Thermal Ventures – Carlin Gettliffe, James Cassuto
  • 2nd Place: Handheld Optical Technologies – Nathan Alves, Mitchele Au, Justin Goldstein, Jonathan Weber
  • 3rd Place: TriAD, LLC – Amanda Kingston, Divya Raman, Andrew McGloin

2007 Winners

  • 1st Place: Hope Learning Center – Eric Allen, Howard Reid, Scott Sweeney, Lee Jokl

Applications for 2024 are now closed. Stay tuned for details on viewing the finals!

Preview the Application


Contact Ain Center staff via AinCFE@rochester.edu.

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