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07-08-2014

Clarkson University Student Entrepreneur Develops Product to Handle Pets with Ease

A desire to help pets and pet owners has inspired Clarkson University student Bryce Bandish '15 to turn a childhood invention into a new company.

Bryce BandishBandish has worked with Clarkson's Shipley Center for Innovation and Reh Center for Entrepreneurship for two years to develop the Pet Pita, a safe and inexpensive way to immobilize a pet cat or dog. Made of canvas and fleece, the Pet Pita allows pet owners to comfortably medicate, treat and handle their pets at home or on the go.

An entrepreneur from East Dummerston, Vt., Bandish came up with the idea for the product in fifth grade because his cat, Rudy, would not cooperate when it came time to administer his flea medicine. Bandish then cut out a piece of fabric designed to comfortably immobilize the pet for the procedure.

"The whole idea originally was to make medication a less painful experience for your cat, your dog and you," he said.

The idea for the Pet Pita fell to the wayside, Bandish said, until he came to Clarkson. A chemistry major with a business minor, he said the Shipley Center for Innovation and Reh Center for Entrepreneurship have taught him how to apply his creative thinking in both science and business endeavors.

"I learned to think in a completely scientific way, and then I brought in this business element," he said of Pet Pita. "I was able to combine scientific and analytic elements into a business application."

At the 2014 New York Business Plan Competition, Bandish was named "Rookie of the Year" in the products and services category.

"The Reh Center has played an integral part," he said. "They've given me the hands-on experience and knowledge of who to talk to and how to talk to them."

Erin Draper, Reh Center for Entrepreneurship director of operations, said the center is open to students across the University, and she encourages students to get involved early. When students from multiple disciplines work together, she said, they realize how important different perspectives are for success.

"They develop a mutual appreciation for each other," she said. "Engineers realize they need business students and vice versa."

The Pet Pita Kickstarter campaign at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/thepetpita/the-pet-pita runs until Sunday, July 20. Bandish said the pledges would help him fund the full patent process and order the first full-scale round of Pet Pitas to bring to stores throughout New York and New England. He said he now is working with Herkimer Industries to get the product into people's hands.

Draper said Bandish is enthusiastic and passionate about the Pet Pita, and he recognizes a business should be good for people, profit and planet. The Pet Pita is made in the United States and supports local jobs.

"It's not just about the business, it's about the community that you form," Draper said.

Bandish is a graduate of The Clarkson School, Clarkson University’s early college entrance program, which provides exceptional high school age students with a full academic year of residency-based interdisciplinary education, typically before they would have graduated high school.

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 health sciences, 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: Bryce Bandish displays the Pet Pita at Clarkson's Innovation Showcase in 2013.

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/bbandish.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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