Stern kicks off annual Entrepreneur Competition

From innovative women’s underwear to Third World microsavings, the Stern School of Business’ annual Entrepreneurs Challenge was filled by unique startup business ideas.

The competition is organized by the Berkeley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation — a branch of Stern that focuses on assisting former and current NYU students to develop and launch their business ventures. Prospective contestants had the opportunity to present their ideas and seek out additional teammates at the event.

“This is a safe place for young entrepreneurs to really test their ideas and get feedback from similar-minded peers,” said Loretta Poole, associate director of the Berkeley Center Programs.

Based on their ideas, the contestants enter into one of three competition categories. Technology Ventures incorporates startups with a heavy focus on life sciences, information technology and clean tech; Social Ventures include businesses with emphasis on tackling social problems; and New Ventures include startup ideas that focus on the creation process that takes their ideas from concepts to market.

To enter the contest, each group, which must involve at least one NYU-affiliated person, must create a three-minute presentation outlining the idea, a one-page written summary and a business model canvas identifying the nine essential elements that will make up the business model. The deadline for submission is Oct. 16.

The first review process will be conducted in December by volunteers from the Berkeley Center and related business fields who will rate the submissions and provide feedback. Three additional screenings take place throughout the spring semester to single out the three victors who will receive $75,000 if entered in either the Technology Venture or the New Venture category and $50,000 if entered in Social Venture.

“It’s a great opportunity to make plans become reality,” said Benjamin Dorner, a CAS graduate who attended the event to seek out potential co-creators for a system that directly links patients with their primary care provider — eliminating the intermediation insurance firms and thereby significantly lowering costs.

Allistar Forde, an NYU-Poly senior and computer science major, came with his partner Joseph Louzal, an NYU-Poly senior and bimolecular science major. The two were looking for fellow entrepreneurs whom are ready join them in their endeavor to create educational software developed specifically for chemistry.

“We’re from NYU-Poly, so chemistry is a heavy emphasis for us,” Forde said.

Cynthia Franklin, an adjunct professor at Stern, said she was drawn into the program as an alumna because she wanted to share her knowledge as a business owner, and now she has worked with the program for five years.

“You always see very interesting ideas that get the opportunity to flourish,” Franklin said.

A version of this article appeared in the Wednesday Sept. 26 print edition. Anders Melin is a contributing writer. Email him at [email protected]