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Entrepreneurs pitch plans at Clarkson competition

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POTSDAM - A ski design company, a business that tracks crowds at dining facilities and an environmental nonprofit were among the companies that won at the North Country Regional Business Plan Competition at Clarkson University.

More than 60 students on 34 teams from five north country colleges and universities converged at Clarkson to pitch their business start-ups for a chance to win funding.

Eleven teams won a total of $13,500 at the event, which was co-hosted by Clarkson’s Reh Center for Entrepreneurship and SUNY Plattsburgh’s Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship, and was attended by students from Clarkson, St. Lawrence University, SUNY Potsdam, SUNY Plattsburgh and SUNY Canton.

“Our goals were to provide a regional forum for cross-pollination among student entrepreneurs, to strengthen their ties to the north country and to provide funding for their continued growth,” said Erin Draper, Reh Center director of operations. “We were excited to fund 11 student companies at the event and look forward to the next round in Albany.”

The first-place winner in each category - information technology and software; nano and high technology; products and services; and “social entrepreneurship” (businesses that exist to create social good) and nonprofits - received $2,000 while second place earned $1,000 and third $500. In addition, the top two teams from each category are advancing to Albany for the state finals on April 26.

Renoun Ski Company, which is designing a ski to instantly adapt to snow conditions using a patent pending technology, took first place in the nano and high technology category and Prometheus Safety Solutions received second.

First place in the social entrepreneurship and nonprofits division was Natural Resilience, which connects universities and businesses to ecological restoration projects in the developing world, while Center for Textbook Cost Reduction took second and Siren Apparel earned third.

In the information technology and software category, Know B4 You Go, which allows students to check lines before they grab a meal through cameras with smart phone integration, received first place, while Extended Fullstack Software Services received second place and GetMePlace earned third.

The first place student venture in products and services was ABIA, a new body armor system focusing on weight reduction and flexibility. Innovative Delivery Systems received second place and Ski Bumz earned third.

“The competition was really tough; in just a few minutes, the entrepreneurs had to communicate a compelling case for supporting their business venture,” said Richard Gottschall, a lecturer of marketing and entrepreneurship at SUNY Plattsburgh. “The Clarkson students did a great job of innovating around new technologies and made a clear case for improving products.”

Those interested in more information should contact Erin Draper, director of operations for the Reh Center at 315-268-3995 or edraper@clarkson.edu.

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