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The CommuniKey wins Business Plan Competition

BINGHAMTON — The CommuniKey is this year’s winner of the BLDC-EAP Business Plan Competition.

Developed by five Binghamton University students, James Orband, David Brosius, David Simel, Adam Sabol, and Leighton Rogers, The CommuniKey works to connect students and local businesses. For winning the competition, the company receives a $5,000 cash prize from the Binghamton Local Development Corporation (BLDC), a $5,000 advertising package from the Press and Sun Bulletin, a one-year membership in the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce, and three hours of accounting consultation from the Binghamton firm of Piaker and Lyons.

“Participating in the BLDC/EAP Business Plan Competition was an extremely valuable learning experience for us as a company, as it allowed us to plan for the future direction of The CommuniKey,” Adam Sabol said in a news release. “Winning this competition will allow us to further finance our expansion, increase the functionality of our membership cards, upgrade portions of our website, and expand our avenues of promotion.”


This year’s competition attracted 15 entries, which were whittled down to 10 finalists. Two later dropped out, narrowing the final field to eight entries. All participants were required to attend a tutorial session at the Entrepreneurial Assistance Program (EAP) at Broome Community College.

The judge’s panel included members of the BLDC board of directors and the EAP advisory board along with local members of the business community.

Introduced in 2009, the Business Plan Competition seeks to grow local businesses, raise awareness about BLDC financing programs, and highlight resources for business development. The $5,000 prize money comes from the BLDC’s marketing and outreach-committee’s annual budget.

Last year’s winner, Heather Staley of the HR Staley Agency, 30 West State St., was able to move her business from her home, and hire one full-time agent and two part-time marketing representatives since winning the competition.

“I would just like to remind everyone how important it is to support our local businesses and this year’s competition winner,” Staley said.  “I firmly believe that one business cannot revive the city, but if all of us small business owners work together, we can succeed and grow.”

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