Press-Republican

Business

March 31, 2014

Young entrepreneurs pitch their dreams at PSU

Experts judge inventions, business plans

PLATTSBURGH — It might be called the North Country’s version of “Shark Tank,” with college students presenting business plans, often based on inventions, to panels of judges in hope of prizes and funding.

The North Country Regional Business Plan Competition was held at Plattsburgh State’s Ausable Hall. It was co-hosted by the Reh Center for Entrepreneurship at Clarkson University. Congressman Bill Owens visited as keynote speaker

The first place winner in each category received $2,000; the second place winner received $1,000; and both will advance to the New York Business Plan Competition in Albany on April 25.

Each team of students had 10 minutes to present an idea. Then, they faced a five-minute question and answer session from the panel of judges.

Timing cues were provided for the students, with a green card indicating they had two minutes left; a yellow card indicating they had one minute left; and a red card indicating that their time was up.

SOURCES OF INSPIRATION

Students drew on many inspirations for their inventions and business ideas. Bryce Bandish of Clarkson pitched an idea that he first thought of as a child — inspired by the sometimes ferocious behavior of his cat.

“I was in fifth grade, and my mom used to make me give my small cat, Rudy, some flea medicine,” he recalled with a smile. “Like the football player from Notre Dame, Rudy was small, but he had a lot of fight.”

To administer the flea medicine without getting bitten, Bandish took some fabric from a costume and fashioned it into a device that would gently secure the cat. The next day, his mother sewed a professional version of the same idea, and the “Pet Pita” was born. Bandish has patented the invention, which he calls “a safe and easy way” to give medication to animals at home. He wants to sell it under the company name “Comfy Pets.”

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