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04-03-2014

Clarkson University Students Excel at North Country Regional Business Plan Competition

Clarkson University teams came home with four first-place, four second-place, and two third-place awards at Saturday's North Country Regional Business Plan Competition, competing against five other universities and colleges.

Front row: (left to right) Cameron Jones, Kane Henderson, Mick Tarsel, Richard Cerminara. Middle row: Austin Hill, Brian Heneghan, Kalervo Hyyppa, Aaron Dahl, Matthew Taheri, Christopher Carlton, Madeline Vincitore, Daniel ScotRoss, Salvatore Riniolo, Lorraine Njoki, Lauren Magin, Erik Worden. Back row: Evan Jennings, Daniel Briere, Benjamin Deuell, Kaleb Morrow-Simmons, Igor Sokolov, Richard Nunez, Marissa Manley, Briar Bonadonna, Jessica Dee, mentor Erin Draper, Bryce Bandish, Matthew Burke, Greg Lang, James Ruocco, Timothy Best, Michael Garlasco Jr., mentor Ashley Sweeney, judge Mark Dzwonczyk.The students earned prizes of $2,000 each for first place, $1,000 each for second place, and $500 each for third place. The top two winners in each category will go on to state-level competition in Albany later this month.

“The students are the stars,” says Matt Draper, deputy director of Clarkson's Shipley Center for Innovation and one of the mentors for the Clarkson teams. “We provide guidance and a lot of one-on-one meetings, but the students provide the ideas, energy, and passion.”

In this year's competition, which had a 30 percent increase in participation over last year's, 42 student teams from Clarkson University, St. Lawrence University, SUNY Plattsburgh, Clinton Community College,  Jefferson Community College, and  Paul Smith's College pitched their business plans to a panel of experts.

The winning Clarkson teams are:

- Social Entrepreneurship, First Place – Outland Manufacturing, co-founders Evan Jennings and Daniel Briere.

- Information Technology, Second Place – Monetary Solutions, Michael Garlasco Jr.; Third Place – New-Tams, Igor Sevonkaev (tie with Painless Poetry, SUNY Plattsburgh, Kevin Clayton)

- Product Services, First Place – Ambizione LLC, Briar Bonadonna; Second Place – Comfy Pets, Bryce Bandish; Third Place – Airvo, Kalervo Hyyppa, Brian Heneghan, Aaron Dahl

- High Tech/Nano Tech, First Place – Deuell Automated Machines, Benjamin Deuell; Second Place – Renoun Ski Company, Cameron Jones

- Energy and Sustainability, First Place – Steam Engine Technologies, Matthew Burke; Second Place – CORE Technologies, Lauren Magin, Salvatore Riniolo, Erik Worden, and Lorraine Njoki

“The quality of presentations was unbelievable,” says Erin Draper, director of operations for the Reh Center for Entrepreneurship, who served as a mentor and organized Clarkson's participation. “The variety of business plans went from high tech to social enterprise.”

The competition is not just academic, she points out. Many of the students want to see this venture through and start a business in New York state. They can use their winnings to start the next steps of business, so this event is a strong engine for economic development.

“We're grateful to our very generous sponsors: SymQuest, The Development Corporation, SUNY Plattsburgh, the Reh Center for Entrepreneurship at Clarkson University, State University of New York, and the student-run business Mo Joe,” she adds.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: Clarkson University teams came home with four first-place, four second-place, and two third-place awards at Saturday's North Country Regional Business Plan, competing against five other universities and colleges. Front row: (left to right) Cameron Jones, Kane Henderson, Mick Tarsel, Richard Cerminara. Middle row: Austin Hill, Brian Heneghan, Kalervo Hyyppa, Aaron Dahl, Matthew Taheri, Christopher Carlton, Madeline Vincitore, Daniel ScotRoss, Salvatore Riniolo, Lorraine Njoki, Lauren Magin, Erik Worden. Back row: Evan Jennings, Daniel Briere, Benjamin Deuell, Kaleb Morrow-Simmons, Igor Sevonkaev, Richard Nunez, Marissa Manley, Briar Bonadonna, Jessica Dee, mentor Erin Draper, Bryce Bandish, Matthew Burke, Greg Lang, James Ruocco, Timothy Best, Michael Garlasco Jr., mentor Ashley Sweeney, judge Mark Dzwonczyk.

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/business-plan-comp-2014.jpg .]

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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