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College sponsors 2012 Business Idea Competition

DATE: 06-20-2012

Cayuga Community College sponsored the 2012 Business Idea Competition this spring for which students submitted creative ideas and thorough business plans in hopes of winning the $1,000 first prize. The competition was open to all SUNY college students whose home colleges participated in the SUNY Educational Network to Grow Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ENGINE) workshop in fall 2011.

“The purpose of our business idea competition is to foster students to think creatively in an entrepreneurial way,” said Business Instructor Amy Valente. “We hope to inspire students to consider entrepreneurship at some point in their lives.”

Participants took the first step toward becoming an entrepreneur through their entries. The following are the Cayuga CC student winners, their cash awards and business ideas:

  • 1st place winners Michele L. Doody and Lori M. Emperato were awarded $1000 for MySleeves, changeable sleeves for a functionally fashionable shirt
  • 2nd place winners Mathew L. Pidgeon and Katelyn A. Nans were awarded $500 for Keeping it Sunny Foods, a mobile concession stand
  • 3rd place winners Kelsey Cloonan, MaryKay M. Cloonan, and Katie France were awarded $250 for Hockey Jocks Ice Cream, hockey-themed ice cream franchise

“The contest was a great opportunity,” said first place winner Lori M. Emperato. “Without it, I may never have explored entrepreneurship beyond simply having a business idea in my head. I feel encouraged to pursue the MySleeves idea as well as a couple others I have.”

Emperato’s business idea MySleeves was a functional fashion product; sleeves that could be added to any shirt to add warmth and flair. Her aim was to create a cost effective way to express one’s personal style. By changing the style set of MySleeves, many different looks could be achieved from one shirt.

The contest was judged by entrepreneurs Bob Pine and Larry Clark, Cayuga Economic Development Agency Executive Director Terry Masterson, and Bob Steigerwald of SCORE. Finalists enjoyed a luncheon on May 9 at the Auburn Campus, where they received their certificate and check awards.

“A review of the entries certainly suggests that community college students are incredibly creative,” said Professor Thomas J. Paczkowski, the Fred L. Emerson Foundation Endowed Chair in Enterprise and Innovation. “Many students have suggested viable business opportunities that would not only satisfy a genuine customer interest but also generate a profit for the innovator.”

The competition was funded through a grant provided by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation through the Kauffman Campus Initiative (KCI).  Cayuga Community College is a partner in the KCI with Syracuse University, LeMoyne College, SUNY Morrisville, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and Onondaga Community College.