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SU clean-tech startup, SparkCharge, wins grand prize in New York Business Plan Competition

SparkCharge winner

ALBANY, N.Y. — SparkCharge, a clean-technology startup at Syracuse University (SU), captured the $100,000 grand prize in the 8th annual New York Business Plan Competition.

It also won first place and $10,000 in the competition’s clean-technology track.

SparkCharge emerged during the competition’s final round held Friday at the SUNY Polytechnic Institute’s (SUNY Poly) Albany NanoTech Complex, the school said in a news release.

SparkCharge pitched a business plan that seeks to allow electrical vehicles to charge anywhere at any time to address “range anxiety” with its modular, battery-charging package that “can be easily transported in any electric vehicle or stored at any building, for example.”

More than 400 student-led teams applied to compete in the statewide competition. A total of 103 teams were selected to compete after making it through regional semifinal rounds that were held across the state.

A panel of national venture capitalists, angel investors, and investment bankers selected the winning teams and offered feedback for each team that participated in the competition.

SUNY Poly and University at Albany co-presented the competition. Albany–based credit union SEFCU is the title sponsor of the $500,000 business-plan competition.


Category winners

Besides SparkCharge, five other teams also secured $10,000 cash prizes within their respective categories.

Natural Cuts, a team of students from Cornell University, prevailed in the advanced technology track. It pitched a patent-pending process to create a “more natural way” to add shelf life to potato products using less energy.

PowerSpike, which includes students from SU and Binghamton University, won first place in the information technology/software track. The team pitched a platform to enable sponsorships for gamers taking part in online-gaming communities.

In the products track, OWA Haircare pitched an “environmentally sustainable, safe, and convenient” waterless shampoo to save water, plastic, and energy. A student from the Rochester Institute of Technology leads the young firm.

IIID, which included students from SU and Rochester Institute of Technology, won first place in the services track. It pitched a service to design and produce “affordable” building elements for historic restorations.

Thrive Projects, Inc., which includes students from SU, prevailed in the social entrepreneurship/nonprofit track. The team pitched a “customized and localized educational solutions program for communities around the world.”

In addition, six teams won $5,000 second-place awards and six teams won $1,500 third-place awards.

The competition also included other recognition awards, per the SUNY Poly release.


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