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Clarkson team takes top honors at state Business Plan Competition

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POTSDAM - One Clarkson University team was awarded first prize in their category and another won the People’s Choice Award in the fourth annual New York State Business Plan Competition held at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering of the University at Albany on Friday.

Competing against more than 430 business teams from 60 colleges and universities across New York state, Innovative Delivery Systems (IDS) took first place in the products/services category and won $10,000 cash and professional services valued at $5,000.

IDS created “OrdrIT,” a Web application, which allows spectators to access a stadium’s concession menus and order food from their seats without missing the action. The company, which began in a first-year business class in fall 2011, has earned nearly than $70,000 in awards and collegiate business competition winnings since then.

The company is made up of sophomores Dietrich Diehl of Clarence Center, and Christopher Behrens of Rhinebeck, both Global Supply Chain management majors; Andrew J. Wegner of Farmington, a financial information & analysis major; and Sean Cheung of Norwich, an Arete major, studying both innovation & entrepreneurship, and psychology; and junior Stephen Akiki of Colchester, Vt., an aeronautical engineering and mechanical engineering double major.

The firm has hired a sales representative to help get OrdrIT into stadiums, arenas and performing arts theaters. “The key for us right now is to expand quickly,” said Diehl. “It’s a lot to take on as a full-time student, but this is the reason why I chose to come to Clarkson. I wanted to start my own business.”

The team plans to use their award for product distribution, in-house marketing at venues and product development. “We’ll use the in-kind services to raise a Series A round capital investment,” said Diehl.

See a video about IDS and OrdrIT at http://youtu.be/eJpdS5nrEAw .

Renoun Ski Company won the “People’s Choice” award along with a $1,000 prize. Renoun is designing a ski to adapt instantly to snow conditions using a patent-pending technology and principals of aircraft design.

The company is made up of mechanical engineering seniors Cameron Jones of Lake George, Donald Lienau of Canaan, Vt., and Robert Pelletier of Hinesburg, Vt.; electrical engineering seniors Greg Bright of East Aurora, and Ryan Ericson of Lanesboro, Mass.; and aeronautical engineering senior Cyrus Schenck of Shelburne, Vt.

Renoun will be putting their prize toward building its next round of prototypes. “We have a relationship with a company in the UK, and we’ll be incorporating its material into the ski for the first rounds of testing,” said Schenck. “We’re really psyched at what we’re doing.”

Schenck says that the competition in Albany was stiff, but that it was a great networking experience. “It was neat to see the presentations and learn from others. There were a lot of cool start-up companies. We learned a great deal talking to other entrepreneurs.”

Expanded to cover all 10 economic development regions of New York for the first time, in accordance with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Regional Development Councils roadmap, this year’s event drew a record number of entries, further cementing its recognition as the largest competition of its kind in the nation. The final round featured a total of 88 student-led start-ups from 33 colleges and universities that presented business plans for innovations in the areas driving the 21st century economy, including nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, and clean energy, among others.

More than 60 students from five north country colleges and universities converged on Clarkson in March to pitch their businesses in the first North Country Regional Business Plan Competition, cohosted by Clarkson’s Reh Center for Entrepreneurship and SUNY Plattsburgh’s Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship. Eight teams from the north country, seven of them from Clarkson, advanced to the finals in Albany.

The New York State Business Plan Competition was established in 2009 to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship throughout New York State’s colleges and universities.

SEFCU and SUNY served as the event’s Title Sponsors, with the competition jointly presented by College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering of the University at Albany on, University at Albany’s School of Business, and Syracuse University. The winning teams were selected by a panel of national venture capitalists, angel investors, investment bankers, and seasoned entrepreneurs.

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