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Apr 24 2012

NYIT Teams Prepare for Statewide Business Competition

Business Plan Competition Team

New York, N.Y.  (April 24, 2012)  ΜΆ  Two NYIT student teams are polishing their elevator pitches as they prepare for a statewide business competition later this week.

The teams, comprising students from the schools of Management, Engineering and Computing Sciences, and Architecture and Design, as well as the College of Arts and Sciences, spent nearly five months researching and perfecting separate strategies for two businesses:  an online interactive game to save endangered animals and a water-bottle roofing system that can be used in disaster relief.
Last month, the teams were among dozens that made the first cut in the New York State Business Plan Competition at SUNY Albany, one of the nation's largest collegiate business competitions.  At Thursday’s second-round event, they’ll present an elevator pitch in hopes of advancing to the final round, winning prize money, and attracting investors to the businesses.
 “You have to think about how they’re going to see it,” said fifth-year architecture student Brian Strydom, discussing his strategy for pitching the roofing system plan to the judging panel of entrepreneurs, investors, bankers, and venture capitalists. The plan builds on the design success of a special bracket that connects water bottles, enabling them to be “upcycled” as they are assembled into roofing sections on discarded pallets.  NYIT has received a provisional patent for the bracket.
Strydom, who is accustomed to thinking that “sustainability” deals with power sources and “break even” means cutting something straight with a saw, said the competition forced him to learn the language of business.
The other NYIT plan, “Green Kids Media,” envisions an online, interactive game to find and save endangered species around the world.  The team’s plan notes that unlike many existing commercial video products, the game is both educational and adventurous.
Shreyas Rami, the team leader, said the plan works on a “freemium” model, where users initially play for free and then decide to purchase items that enable them to play at higher levels. 
“It gets more interesting the farther you get into the game,” he said, adding that players from all over the world who seek to save the same animal can create virtual communities and connect with one another.
“If they do well, they’ll get investors coming to them,” said Joanne Scillitoe, director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and an associate professor of entrepreneurship in NYIT’s School of Management.  
Scillitoe said some of the teams took advantage of space at NYIT's new business incubator to hold meetings and hash out ideas, sometimes with the help of "Entrepreneur in Residence" Roy Arad.
“It’s great experience," she said of the competition. "They’re working though ideas and concepts. They get a chance to think about the business application of these technologies and work with interdisciplinary teams.  These are relevant areas.”
The other students participating are:  Xuanxin Li, Ruijun Saperstein, Ishaan Kumar, Dawei Pang, Shixian Jiang, Palak Chheda, Xiaolin Li, Yu Hou, Arjun Rai, and Jozhe Fonseca.  In addition to Scillitoe, NYIT faculty advisors include:  Lynn Rogoff, Robert Smith, Farzana Gandhi, Jason Van Nest, and Michele Bertomen.
About NYIT
New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) offers 90 degree programs, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees, in more than 50 fields of study, including architecture and design; arts and sciences; education; engineering and computing sciences; health professions; management; and osteopathic medicine. A non-profit independent, private institution of higher education, NYIT has 14,000 students attending campuses on Long Island and Manhattan, online, and at its global campuses. NYIT sponsors 11 NCAA Division II programs and one Division I team.
Led by President Edward Guiliano, NYIT is guided by its mission to provide career-oriented professional education, offer access to opportunity to all qualified students, and support applications-oriented research that benefits the larger world. To date, 89,000 graduates have received degrees from NYIT. For more information, visit
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