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Local Business School Supports High School Entrepreneurs With Third Annual Competition


Media Relations

May 21, 2014

Local Business School Supports High School Entrepreneurs With Third Annual Competition

Lally School of Management at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute To Host Business Plan Competition May 21

The Lally School of Management at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute will host its third annual high school business plan competition on Wednesday, May 21. The competition is sponsored by the Paul J. ’69 and Kathleen M. Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship in the Lally School of Management at Rensselaer.

Seventy high school students representing 25 teams will have an opportunity to pitch their budding ideas to a panel of management scholars, entrepreneurs, and area business leaders. During the event, Lally School MBA and doctoral students will also provide coaching to the high school students immediately prior to their participation in the competition part of the day. This event is open to the Rensselaer campus and the public..

The competition will take place on the Rensselaer campus beginning at 9 a.m. in the Darrin Communications Center (DCC), room 318. During the preliminary rounds, each team will deliver a 10-minute presentation to coaches and judges. Throughout the day, students also will receive feedback and suggestions for improvement. The final round will begin at 3:05 p.m. in DCC, room 318. During this round, the top three teams will present for the chance to win cash prizes of $2,500, $1,500, or $1,000. The award ceremony will take place at 4 p.m. in the same space.

The teams comprise high school students from Capital Region high schools including Shaker High School, Niskayuna High School, and the Emma Willard School. Additional student teams from New York state include Mayfield High School. Teams also hail from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and California. Also, a team from Beijing and from Shanghai in China will participate.

“We are very excited to be holding our third annual business plan competition for high school students at the Lally School,” said Thomas Begley, dean of Lally School. “Innovation and entrepreneurship are hallmarks of Lally and Rensselaer. The competition grows larger and better each year and we believe high school students benefit greatly from the process of coming up with an idea for a business, articulating the plan for developing it, and presenting it to a live audience of experienced entrepreneurs.”

Some of this year’s high school business plan ideas include: an organization that connects language programs in schools in the United States with other students from all over the world via social media and mail services; an engaging treasure-hunting experience in New York City via prepackaged and coordinated tours that utilize local bike sharing locations; a mobile device case designed for an epinephrine injector for individuals with severe allergies; a smart door frame used to help escape fires in a quick and safe manner; and a product that uses noise-canceling technology to make airplane flights more comfortable and enjoyable.

“At the Severino Center, we are dedicated to finding and helping the next generation of Rensselaer entrepreneurs to succeed and also supporting entrepreneurship in the Capital Region,” said Jason Kuruzovich, academic director of the Severino Center. “The Rensselaer High School Business Plan Competition advances each of these efforts.”

Earlier in the year, the Severino Center held a high school teacher’s workshop titled, “Basic Principles in Business Plan Development.” The workshop offered high school teachers a professional development opportunity as well as seven accreditation hours on how to teach the structure and substance of a business plan. The event also provided teachers with new concepts and tools to bring back to their classrooms.

“This business plan competition has provided Shaker High School engineering students the ability to enhance their engineering ideas with a better understanding of the business environment,” said Kevin S. Smith, technology teacher/engineering capstone adviser at Shaker High School. “They have also developed collaborative relationships with our business students to model a replica of a true entrepreneurial experience!”

The Paul J. ’69 and Kathleen M. Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship fosters 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 about the Paul J. ’69 and Kathleen M. Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship, visit


Reeve Hamilton
Director of Media Relations and Communications

(518) 833-4277

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About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America’s first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, 32 research centers, more than 145 academic programs, and a dynamic community made up of more than 7,900 students and more than 100,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include more than 145 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration.