Student entrepreneurs make their pitch at virtual Business Plan Contest

The transition to remote learning didn’t stop School of Business students and faculty from hosting another successful Business Plan Contest on Monday, April 27, as teams of aspiring entrepreneurs rose to the challenge and presented their concepts in an online format.

More than 20 students working in six teams shared plans they’ve been developing over the course of the semester, making pitches and responding to questions from an experienced judges’ panel.

“This truly proves how adaptable our students can be by overcoming not only the change in delivery of our course material but also working in teams remotely to create viable business plans,” said Chris Napolitano, lecturer in the School of Business and co-coordinator, with adjunct Johnny LeHane, of this semester’s entrepreneurship curriculum.

“The judges were duly impressed with how the students were prepared, the creativity of their business ideas, and how moving the competition online was relatively seamless. The results were extremely close, which is a testament to their preparation and competitiveness.”

In the end, the first-place prize went to You Tutorials, the creation of Sophia Romano-Clinton ’20 (Marketing), Shaina Schuster ’20 (Finance) and Zachariah Yahya ’20 (Finance; Management).

You Tutorials capitalizes on the popularity of beauty, cosmetics and fashion videos with an app that tailors looks based on users’ unique facial features and complexion, to help them find and apply makeup styles that work best for them.

“It is incredible to see what we have accomplished in such a short amount of time,” said the You Tutorials team in a joint statement. “We may have had a rocky start, but this team really pulled it together to come up with a great idea. We would like to thank Professor [Chris] Napolitano not only for providing invaluable feedback, but also for creating such a productive environment to build our business idea.”

The close runners-up were Kevin Adinolfi ’20 (Business Administration), Thomas Coffey ’20 (Business Administration), Justin Frascati ’20 (Business Administration) and James Variano ’20 (Business Administration). Their pitch, Mountain GOAT Guides, is an ecotourism company with a mission of creating higher-quality hiking experiences for outdoor enthusiasts.

“This course was exactly what entrepreneurship is about,” they said. “Nothing was clear in the beginning, but we kept our heads up, kept brainstorming, and had a constructive setup for feedback. Of course, we didn’t get things right on the first try, but we were able to achieve something we would have told ourselves was impossible.”

The first and second place teams won prizes of $3,000 and $1,500, respectively.

The School of Business thanks the spring 2020 Business Plan Contest judges:

  • Tony DiMarco, Entrepreneur in Residence at SUNY New Paltz School of Business and Founding Manager of the Hudson Valley Startup Fund
  • Danny Potocki, Managing Director of Accel7 Business Accelerator
  • Cathy LoCicero-Terrizzi, New York State Small Business Development Center

The contest was sponsored by Ulster Savings Bank, M&T Bank and Campus Auxiliary Services, Inc.

Visit the SUNY New Paltz School of Business online to learn more about programs and opportunities for students and professionals.