Three RIT student teams head to statewide finals in Albany, April 25

Finalists are competing in the New York Business Plan Competition

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A. Sue Weisler

Three teams of RIT students have advanced to the final round of the New York Business Plan Competition on April 25.

Three teams of students from Rochester Institute of Technology have advanced to the final round of the New York Business Plan Competition, where they will go head-to-head, April 25, with participating colleges in the Finger Lakes region for the grand prize.

The collegiate contest is hosted by the State of New York College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE), University at Albany’s School of Business and Syracuse University. The competition will be held at CNSE Albany’s Nanotech Complex.

“RIT strengths are generally in the innovative application of technology,” said Richard DeMartino, endowed chair and director of the Simone Center for Student Innovation and Entrepreneurship and associate professor in RIT’s Saunders College of Business. “Each of these products designed by students actually do that. One is in the domain of information technology, one is in the materials/manufacturing space, and the other is in the domain of sustainability—reusing resources to help developing countries with sanitation.”

The RIT competing teams who will pitch their ideas are:

  • Tyger Industries (Category: IT/Software): Tyger is developing a network that reduces infrastructural costs and increases mobility; the technology will initially target applications for deployed military units. Team members are Jared Mistretta, fifth-year computer engineering and economics student from Owego, N.Y., Sophie Song, fourth-year computer science student from Philadelphia, Pa., and Aleks Litynski, fourth-year game design student from Niskayuna, N.Y.
  • Precision Watercraft Enterprises (Category: Energy/Sustainability): PWE will be a manufacturer of green, economical, high end stand up jet skis. Team members are fourth-year mechanical engineering students Jordan Darling from Oswego, N.Y., and Michael Buffalin from Mission Viejo, Calif.
  • Imagine Soap (Category: Social/Non-Profit): Produce and sell soap at below-market prices to make life-saving hygiene affordable to Haiti’s poor while utilizing local waste resources. Team members are Jonathan Morris-Eppolito, MBA student from Skaneateles, N.Y., Rahul Gadre, graduate student in network security and systems administration from Badlapur, India, and Brendan Gordon, MFA in industrial design from New Orleans.

Since 2010, more than 570 student teams from almost 60 of New York’s colleges and universities have pitched their ideas and ventures at the NYBPC. The winners are selected each year by esteemed judges, including venture capitalists, angel investors, investment bankers, other sophisticated public and private investors and seasoned entrepreneurs. At the end of the 2013 competition, more than $800,000 in cash (and in-kind prizes) was awarded to student entrepreneurs in New York.