To transform a good idea into a great product, service, or solution requires many factors, including the right environment to foster that growth. To support this endeavor, the Lally School of Management hosted its fourth annual business model competition for undergraduate and graduate students on Feb. 25. Nine student teams pitched their product or software ideas as they competed for more than $15,000 in prizes and in-kind services. The panel of judges included community members and alumni and alumnae with varying backgrounds in entrepreneurship and business.
“The Lally School is a pivotal destination for many students at Rensselaer who excel at entrepreneurial skills, innovation, and leadership and are interested in starting a journey to create a business,” said Thomas Begley, dean of the Lally School. “This annual competition helps them bring their ideas to the next level. The highly experienced group of entrepreneurs who serve as coaches and judges encourage these students to believe that starting a business is within their reach.”
The goal for the Rensselaer Business Model Competition is to provide student entrepreneurs with the opportunity to improve their business idea through 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.
1st Place ($8,000)
A smart firearm safety technology that serves as a quick–access safe for handguns intended for home safety.
2nd Place ($5,000)
An automated web service that uses machine learning to bundle resume building and headhunting into one powerful and synergistic platform.
3rd Place ($2,000)
A highly immersive virtual reality experience for first–person shooters, for both consumer and military applications.
“This business model competition operates from the fact that the best way to learn entrepreneurship is by engaging in the best practices of being an entrepreneur. Therefore, the students must go outside of campus and speak with customers in order to understand their needs and make sure they are developing the right product,” said Jason Kuruzovich, academic director of the Paul J. ’69 and Kathleen M. Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship.
Sponsors include the Severino Center; Bob Godgart ’82, serial entrepreneur; the law offices of Heslin, Rothenberg, Farley & Mesiti, P.C.; and the Rensselaer Center for Future Energy Systems.
The winners were: BASE-Lock, which won first place ($8,000) for a smart firearm safety technology that serves as a quick–access safe for handguns intended for home safety; Resumazing, which won second place ($5,000) for an automated web service that uses machine learning to bundle resume building and headhunting into one powerful and synergistic platform; and Illium VR, which won third place ($2,000) for a highly immersive virtual reality experience for first–person shooters, for both consumer and military applications.
Illium VR was also awarded the intellectual property (in-kind) award ($2,000) sponsored by Heslin, Rothenberg, Farley & Mesiti, P.C.