On the two-hour drive to Albany, Binghamton University student entrepreneurs practiced pitches and perfected PowerPoint presentations. On the way home, they celebrated the three teams who won awards at the New York Business Plan Competition (NYBPC) on Friday.
Taking first place in the Clean Technology/Sustainability category was Joe Rigoroso, founder of Infiniti Greens. The award earned him $10,000 to invest in his start-up, which offers a variety of microgreens, or mini versions of full-grown vegetables. Current customers include local restaurants and patrons of the Broome County Farmers Market.
Also taking home hardware Friday was MicroBELLA, a prebiotic skin care company headed by BU graduate student Katie Cherney. MicroBELLA earned third place in the Products category of the competition. Cherney has designed a line of products handcrafted and made with natural ingredients to restore and support wholesome bacteria growth, which can result in healthier and better-looking skin.
Both MicroBELLA and Infinti Greens operate from the Koffman Southern Tier Incubator in Downtown Binghamton. There, they receive one-on-one mentoring from experienced entrepreneurs and regular assessments of business goals goals.
Also finishing third was Pressure Ulcer Prevention Pad (PUPP), a start-up that aims to produce custom-made cushions that decrease senior citizens’ chance of pressure ulcers, or bedsores. Both third-place winners took home $1,000.
Rigoroso, the Infiniti Greens founder and a senior at Binghamton University, said competitions like NYBPC 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.
Included in Rigoroso’s presentation was his three-year vision for the company, which predicts expansion to 30 restaurants, 15 retailers and three farmers markets by 2020.
Earlier this month, Rigoroso competed at e-Fest, a national entrepreneurship competition featuring workshops and pitch competitions. He also plans to compete in the City of Binghamton’s ninth annual business plan competition, sponsored by the Binghamton Local Development Corporation (BLDC) and the Broome Triad Entrepreneurial Assistance Program (EAP).