Governor Cuomo Announces $500,000 Student Business Plan Competition

March 6, 2014

From the Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo

College Students from Across the State Prepare to Compete as Deadlines Near

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that applications are now available for the fifth annual New York Business Plan Competition. Deadlines are fast approaching for student teams from across the state to apply for the chance to win more than $500,000 in total prizes as part of the upcoming regional competitions and the statewide final round which will be held at CNSE on April 25. The competition is being sponsored by SUNY College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE), in collaboration with Title Sponsors SEFCU and the State University of New York (SUNY).

“This competition brings together some of the brightest and most entrepreneurial college students from across the State and provides them with the chance to bring their business ventures to market,” Governor Cuomo said. “In the past, this program has paired young entrepreneurs with mentors and investors who have helped jumpstart their ideas toward implementation, and I encourage all interested students to apply to this year's competition.”

“SEFCU is thrilled to partner with many of New York State's leading educational institutions to support this critical business plan competition,” said SEFCU President and CEO Michael J. Castellana. “As we've seen during previous competitions over the years, this event is an embodiment of the entrepreneurial spirit in New York that drives student entrepreneurs to develop new and creative ideas to bring to market. The competition also provides these top-tier students with the guidance and know-how to transform their business concepts into reality, and that in turn illustrates why New York continues to be the business capital of the world.”

“SUNY is once again proud to support New York's college students by working with our educational and business partners to provide an unmatched entrepreneurial experience,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “This robust competition acts as a forum for some of the most innovative student ideas, and by pairing these students with eager investors, venture capitalists, and sophisticated business leaders, the business plan competition has become one more way to showcase the powerful opportunities that exist for New York's students.”

“This competition supports Governor Andrew Cuomo's leadership in promoting business growth throughout New York through the creation of an entrepreneurial paradigm powered in large part by the state's leading higher education institutions,” said Dr. Pradeep Haldar, CNSE Vice President of Entrepreneurship Innovation and Clean Energy Programs and Professor and Head of Nanoeconomics. “With Title Sponsors SEFCU and SUNY, this competition enables disruptive business concepts in a variety of areas, allowing them to be brought to market to move society forward. As the largest such competition in the Northeast, it has grown from a dozen teams competing for nearly $30,000 in prizes in 2010 to one of the largest student business competitions in the country, with more than 500 expected teams vying for over $500,000 in prizes this year. We are excited to provide this invaluable framework for innovative, student-inspired economic growth.”

Presented by CNSE in partnership with the University at Albany School of Business and Syracuse University, more than $500,000 in prizes is available to the top student-led startups from accredited colleges and universities throughout New York State. Each team will pitch a business idea to a panel of judges that includes national venture capitalists, angel investors, investment bankers, private equity investors, and seasoned entrepreneurs.

More than 60 colleges and universities are expected to participate from across New York. Interested students are encouraged to submit their business plans for innovations related to areas that include nanotechnology/advanced technology, energy/sustainability, biotechnology/healthcare, information technology/software, products/services, and social entrepreneurship/non-profit.

More than 20 institutions will host the semi-final round of competitions in 10 New York State regions, which are based on Governor Cuomo's 10 Regional Economic Development Councils. Participating host institutions include CNSE, the University at Albany School of Business, Hudson Valley Community College, Siena College, Albany Law School, Union Graduate College, Skidmore College, and Schenectady County Community College in the Capital Region; Syracuse University and SUNY Cortland in Central New York; Clarkson University and SUNY Plattsburgh in the North Country; SUNYIT in the Mohawk Valley; the University of Rochester and Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in the Finger Lakes Region; WNY College Connection and University at Buffalo in Western New York; Cornell University, Binghamton University, Ithaca College, and Broome Community College in the Southern Tier; Marist College in the Mid-Hudson; New York Institute of Technology in New York City; and Stony Brook University on Long Island. The final round is planned for April 25 at CNSE's world-class Albany NanoTech Complex.

More New York Business Plan Competition information, including the date and location of each regional competition, an online application, and filing deadlines by region can be found at: here.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, and more than 95 percent of all New Yorkers live within 30 miles of any one of SUNY’s 64 colleges and universities. Across the system, SUNY has four academic health centers, five hospitals, four medical schools, two dental schools, a law school, the country’s oldest school of maritime, the state’s only college of optometry, and manages one US Department of Energy National Laboratory. In total, SUNY serves about 1.4 million students amongst its entire portfolio of credit- and non-credit-bearing courses and programs, continuing education, and community outreach programs. SUNY oversees nearly a quarter of academic research in New York. Research expenditures system-wide are nearly $1.1 billion in fiscal year 2023, including significant contributions from students and faculty. There are more than three million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunities, visit

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