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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Supporting the Next Generation of Budding Entrepreneurs


Media Relations

February 25, 2014

Supporting the Next Generation of Budding Entrepreneurs

Lally School of Management at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute To Host Business Model Competition – Where Innovation Meets Motivation

It’s never too early to encourage college students to find a way to turn an idea into a viable business, according to the Lally School of Management at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. To support this concept, the Lally School will host a business model competition for undergraduate and graduate students on February 26. This year, 11 student teams will have an opportunity to pitch their budding ideas to a panel of judges comprised of community members, faculty, staff, and alumni/ae with varying backgrounds in entrepreneurship and business.

“The Lally School has a long history of fostering entrepreneurship, innovation, and leadership,” said Thomas Begley, dean of the Lally School. “The annual competition is an exciting event where student entrepreneurs compete for both cash prizes and in-kind services. We are fortunate to have a highly experienced group of entrepreneurs as coaches and judges and it offers a great way for students to pitch their ideas to people who have successfully navigated the start-up waters. Most importantly, it promotes an entrepreneurial mindset and encourages students to believe that starting a business is within their capabilities.”

The one-day competition will take place on the Rensselaer campus from 4 to 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 26, on the second floor of the Ricketts Building.

Formerly known as the Rensselaer Business Plan Competition, the goal for the Rensselaer Business Model Competition is to provide student entrepreneurs with the opportunity to improve their business through workshops, customer interviews, coaching, feedback, and live practice sessions in preparation for the myriad of competition opportunities held annually each spring across the nation and globally.

“The shift from a business plan competition to a business model competition is driven by the recognition that the best way to learn entrepreneurship is by engaging in the best practices of being an entrepreneur. These practices recommend ‘getting out of the building’ to speak with customers and to understand their need,” said Jason Kuruzovich, academic director of the Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship.

“Such an understanding cannot be developed from a plan, and very often entrepreneurs no longer need a formal business plan to be successful or even to obtain financing,” Kuruzovich said. “Often we see students who want to focus all of their time and energy on product development, but the customer contact helps ensure that—even at the earliest conceptual stages—they are developing the right product.”

This year, student business model ideas include:

  • Technology to increase the aerodynamic performance of fleet vehicles without changing their shape
  • A nature-inspired approach to healthy living that uses biomolecules to target disease-resistant pathogens
  • A convenient, versatile, and aesthetic supplement shaker bottle for fitness supplements such as protein, creatine, and energy shakes
  • The development of a collaborative story-telling platform that seeks to revive the world of publishing
  • A handgun locking system mechanism, which allows a bullet to be chambered while locked.

In its third year, the annual competition is also sponsored by the Paul J. ’69 and Kathleen M. Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship, which helps to foster new generations of budding and successful entrepreneurs through outreach programs, education, and support systems. Centered in the Lally School, the Severino Center lies at the core of the Lally School commitment to entrepreneurship, providing a broad-based platform for entrepreneurs to make the transition from concept to company.

For more information about the Lally School of Management, visit

For more information regarding the Rensselaer Business Model Competition, visit:

For more information about the Paul J. ’69 and Kathleen M. Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship, visit