Students Earn First Place in Regional NY Business Plan Competition

April 27, 2016
The student team won their division and earned a chance to compete in the state-wide finals.
student teams at the business plan competition

Three Wells student entrepreneurship teams traveled to Syracuse University recently to participate in the highly-competitive and challenging New York Business Plan Competition (Central NY Region). While each team impressed the judges and attendees, Jake Smith '17 (Philosophy), Valerie Schweigert '16 (Sociology & Anthropology) and Chazz Noble '17 won their division and earned the chance to travel to Albany to compete in the state-wide finals on April 29.

The competition included six divisions, each presenting to a panel of judges made up of entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. The presentations were designed to acquaint the student teams with the types of situations that entrepreneurs or new businesses face when looking for investors, and judging considered factors such as quality, preparation, and presentation.

Jake, Valerie, and Chazz developed their plan in part for Wells' own "Be Your Own Boss!" competition early this spring—in which they earned first place in the for-profit category—but it's not their first time working (and winning) together. All three were a part of the grand prize-winning team—led by Matthew Getch '15—for Wells' 2015 competition. In the process, they have both demonstrated and strengthened their complementary business, technical, and presentation skills.

Lyndsey Wells '16 (Sociology & Anthropology) and Chelsea Carlin '16 (Business) tied for second in their division with "Adulting," a business focused on helping students transition from college to careers; and Jesse Constantino '17 (Biochemistry & Molecular Biology) and Amber Welsh '17 (Individualized Major: Criminal Justice) took third place in the social impact division with "Running Free," a plan to make races (5k through marathons) free for participants through sponsorships. The latter are already moving forward with their business, scheduling races and securing sponsorships.

All three teams were offered a spot in the Syracuse Student Sandbox incubator for student-developed businesses. The incubator is sponsored by CenterState CEO, the U.S. Economic Development Administration and Syracuse University. Jake, Valerie, Chazz, Jesse and Amber are making plans to participate this summer.

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