This week the office of Joe Robach encouraged college students to take part in the sixth annual New York Business Plan Competition – one of the largest contests of its kind in the country. With deadlines quickly approaching, student teams can submit their business plan for the chance to win more than $500,000 in total prizes. The regional semifinals will be held in March and early April, and the statewide finals will be hosted by SUNY Polytechnic Institute in Albany on Friday, April 24.

The purpose of this competition is to give some of New York’s most entrepreneurial college students the opportunity to pursue their business ideas right here in the Empire State. By continuing to provide these opportunities, the next generation of business leaders are being helped to kickstart their most innovative business plans and strengthening the State’s economy in the long run. “I am proud that the State is hosting this competition once again, and I encourage all interested teams to apply today.” Said Joe Robach in a press release issued by his office.

More than 600 students from accredited colleges and universities across New York State are expected to participate, with each team pitching a business idea to an experienced panel of judges. Judges include national venture capitalists, angel investors, investment bankers, private equity investors, and seasoned entrepreneurs. Interested students should submit their business plans for game-changing ideas related to areas that include:

•nanotechnology and advanced technology
•energy and sustainability
•biotechnology and healthcare
•products and services
•information technology and software
•social entrepreneurship and non-profit enterprise

The semi-final round of competition will be held in 10 regions across New York, which are based around the 10 Regional Economic Development Councils. Participating host institutions include:

•Capital Region: SUNY Poly
•Mohawk Valley: SUNY Poly’s Utica campus
•Central New York: Syracuse University
•Southern Tier: Ithaca College
•Mid-Hudson: Marist College
•New York City: New York Institute of Technology
•Long Island: SUNY Farmingdale
•North Country: Clarkson University
•Finger Lakes Region: St. John Fisher College
•Western New York: Hilbert College

Since the competition’s inception in 2010, more than 1,130 student teams from 75 New York State colleges and universities have competed, claiming more than $1,300,000 in cash and in-kind prizes.

More information about the 2015 New York Business Plan Competition, including the date and location of each regional competition, an online application, and filing deadlines by region the office of Joe Robach encourages residents to visit : .