Governor Cuomo Announces Annual $500,000 New York Business Plan Competition

February 23, 2015

Deadline approaching for college students to apply for a chance to win $100,000 grand prize

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today encouraged college students to take part in the sixth annual New York Business Plan Competition – one of the largest contests of its kind in the country. With deadlines quickly approaching, student teams can submit their business plan for the chance to win more than $500,000 in total prizes. The regional semifinals will be held in March and early April, and the statewide finals will be hosted by SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Albany on Friday, April 24.

“This competition gives some of New York’s most entrepreneurial college students the opportunity to pursue their business ideas right here in the Empire State,” Governor Cuomo said. “By continuing to provide these opportunities, we’re helping the next generation of business leaders kickstart their most innovative business plans and strengthening our State’s economy in the long run. I am proud that the State is hosting this competition once again, and I encourage all interested teams to apply today.”

More than 600 students from accredited colleges and universities across New York State are expected to participate, with each team pitching a business idea to an experienced panel of judges. Judges include national venture capitalists, angel investors, investment bankers, private equity investors, and seasoned entrepreneurs. Interested students should submit their business plans for game-changing ideas related to areas that include:

  • nanotechnology and advanced technology
  • energy and sustainability
  • biotechnology and healthcare
  • products and services
  • information technology and software
  • social entrepreneurship and non-profit enterprise

SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher said, “New York’s growing high-tech economy is driven in large part by the innovations born on SUNY campuses across the state, where our students and faculty are consistently advancing research and development, supporting state and local businesses, and fueling the economy. This annual competition is an incredible opportunity for our students to take their best innovations and ideas to the next level, garnering new investment and making critical connections to industry mentors. We are grateful to Governor Cuomo and our business partners across New York for bringing the competition to SUNY again this year.”

The semi-final round of competition will be held in 10 regions across New York, which are based around Governor Cuomo’s 10 Regional Economic Development Councils. Participating host institutions include:

  • Capital Region: SUNY Poly
  • Mohawk Valley: SUNY Poly’s Utica campus
  • Central New York: Syracuse University
  • Southern Tier: Ithaca College
  • Mid-Hudson: Marist College
  • New York City: New York Institute of Technology
  • Long Island: SUNY Farmingdale
  • North Country: Clarkson University
  • Finger Lakes Region: St. John Fisher College
  • Western New York: Hilbert College

Since the competition’s inception in 2010, more than 1,130 student teams from 75 New York State colleges and universities have competed, claiming more than $1,300,000 in cash and in-kind prizes.

Dr. Pradeep Haldar, SUNY Poly CNSE Vice President of Entrepreneurship Innovation and Clean Energy Programs and Professor and Head of Nanoeconomics said, “Embodying Governor Andrew Cuomo’s vision for creating a robust, sustainable business climate in New York State, the New York Business Plan Competition invites college students to pitch their most disruptive, pioneering ideas. This competition highlights what is attainable when leading higher education institutions allow students to leverage resources and know-how to build a bridge from the classroom to entrepreneurial success. With Title Sponsor SEFCU fueling this unique and important competition, in addition to support from sponsors NYSERDA, Anchor Agency, Center for Economic Growth, and National Grid, it has grown from only one dozen teams competing for nearly $30,000 in prizes in 2010 to one of the largest student business competitions in the country. This year, participating college students will vie for more than $500,000 in prizes which will undoubtedly spur novel student-powered ideas that can lead to financial security and impact whole communities.”

Michael J. Castellana, President and CEO of SEFCU, Title Sponsor of the competition, said, “SEFCU is once again pleased to collaborate with the leading educational institutions in New York State and support this business plan competition to encourage entrepreneurs to fulfill their dreams of bringing their product to market. For the past six years, this competition has played a critical role in the creation of new businesses, and more importantly, encouraging and guiding students to leverage New York’s innovation economy and remain here in the state that is truly the business capital of the world."

John B. Rhodes, President and CEO of NYSERDA said, “As New York State under Governor Andrew Cuomo charts a path toward a cleaner, more reliable and affordable energy system, NYSERDA is proud to support the final round of the New York Business Plan Competition, where the state’s college students deploy cutting-edge ideas to tackle today’s complex energy issues. The competition aligns with NYSERDA’s goals to build entrepreneurial capacity and support the transformation of innovative clean energy ideas into successful businesses leading to economic development and job creation in New York State.”

More information about the 2015 New York Business Plan Competition, including the date and location of each regional competition, an online application, and filing deadlines by region can be found at:

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, 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 2022, 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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