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Stony Brook Students Top Their Class in Entrepreneur Challenge

The Stony Brook Entrepreneur Challenge is held annually in the spring, and provides SBU student entrepreneurs with an opportunity to win a share of $50,000 to help cover start-up costs for their businesses.  Students “pitch” their ideas in person to a panel of experienced venture funders, entrepreneurs and business services professionals. 

But this year was quite exceptional! Due to the COVID-19 shelter-in-place restrictions, the twelve student teams presented their business technologies via ZOOM!    The highest ranked teams then moved on to the Regional Competition for a chance to receive additional funding. All four Stony Brook teams who competed in the Regional competition on April 16, 2020 have been selected to advance to the State finals which are being held April 24, 2020.  Over the past fourteen years, the Challenge has awarded almost half a million dollars to these young entrepreneurs. Students participating can be matriculating in any program at any level to qualify to compete.

The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) located on SBU’s campus has played a major role in the preparedness of the competitors by providing free professional business advisement on how to create concise, professional and persuasively-developed business plans, allowing the students to excel in presenting their technology offerings. 

“Every year the SBEC demonstrates just how passionate, ambitious and resourceful our student entrepreneurs are in starting and launching their businesses,” said Michael Chiang, SBDC Advisor and Entrepreneur-in-Residence. He went on to say that due to the sudden onset of the virus and unexpected change in format, “ the student entrepreneurs exhibited quite possibly the two most important characteristics of any successful entrepreneur: perseverance and the ability to move quickly when opportunity presents itself.”

How the Funding Works:

Prizes awarded are in the form of funds that will apply towards I-Corp support related to customer discovery, technology development, infrastructure, advice, resources, networking opportunities, and training.  The I-Corps program nurtures and supports students to transition their ideas, devices, processes or other intellectual activities into the marketplace or into becoming I-Corps Team applicants. This program is supported by the National Science Foundation, and seeks to develop and nurture a national innovation ecosystem that builds upon research to guide the output of scientific discoveries closer to the development of technologies, products and processes that benefit society.

Stony Brook Entrepreneurs Challenge Competition Winners:

1 st   Place

Awarded $30,000 

Eos Technologies: Sustainable Solar Solutions 

2 nd Place

Tied $10,000 each

Ripple Band: Wearable device to prevent viral transmission

Scrap-It: Online Platform Connecting Consumers with Junk Haulers 

Four Annual Regional Business Plan Competitors Advanced To States:

EOS Place & Award

Ripple Band

Dune Fishery – Blue Point Oyster Farm

Zugar – Chocolates without sugar

For further information about the Stonybrook Entrepreneur Challenge, visit the SBDC website at stonybrook.edu/sbdc or contact Martha Stansbury at the SBDC martha.stansbury@stonybrook.edu