Joe Rigoroso, a Binghamton University senior and the founder of Infiniti Greens, is headed to Minneapolis this weekend for a national entrepreneurship competition where he could win up to $250,000.
E-Fest, scheduled for April 12-14, is a three-day event featuring workshops, pitch competitions and the Schulze Entrepreneurship Challenge. Twenty-five student teams will present their business models for 15 minutes and then answer 10 minutes of questions.
Rigoroso said competitions like e-Fest make entrepreneurs examine their business from a variety of perspectives.
“Competitions like these force student entrepreneurs to look at the big picture and the future of their business while also providing capital that can allow these students to grow their companies much faster,” Rigoroso said.
Infiniti Greens has operated from the Koffman Southern Tier Incubator (KSTI) since the summer of 2017, and is part of the Business Incubation Program. The start-up, which offers a variety of microgreens, or mini versions of full-grown vegetables, sells to local restaurants and patrons of the Broome County Farmers Market. At Koffman, Rigoroso receives one-on-one mentoring from experienced entrepreneurs and regular assessments of his business’ goals.
The Minnesota competition is named after Richard Schulze, the founder of Best Buy, and is sponsored by the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas, and EIX.org. The first-place winner will join Schulze for a media tour featuring local and national media outlets interested in the winning concept.
Rigoroso, who’s majoring in business administration, applied in this February with a seven-minute business pitch video and was selected from hundreds of applications across the country.
Sung Kim, the founder of Chick-N-Bap, a student-run dining option at Binghamton University, has mentored Rigoroso and will be serving as his coach at the competition. Kim said the uniqueness of Infiniti Greens is beneficial to its future prospects.
“He’s focusing on a very niche, specific market product with the vision to grow organically,” Kim said. “He’s doing everything to develop a genuine, personal relationship with the customers through his product and story, and I think that’s something special.”
By Amy Donovan ’19