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Clarkson University's Young Entrepreneurs and Innovators Program Accepting Applications for Unique Business Competition
One year ago, Paul Hyman was a high school senior figuring out how to finance a college education at his dream school. Anna Hladkikh was a Clarkson University junior with a business idea.
Today, both are attending Clarkson free-of-tuition, and are operating the businesses they pitched at the University’s Young Innovators and Entrepreneurs Program competition last winter.
Hladkikh and Hyman won the 2012 competition and urge anyone interested in next year’s to apply at http://www.clarkson.edu/equity by January 15 for the program, which provides resources and support to students pursuing a business venture.
The competition winners are offered an opportunity to attend Clarkson University without payment of tuition for the remainder of their four-year undergraduate careers, through a combination of merit-based financial aid (after accounting for other aid for which the student may be eligible) and a purchase by Clarkson of 10 percent equity in their firm at fair market value.
Hladkikh, a senior innovation and entrepreneurship major from Adams Center, N.Y., launched “Feels Like Home,” a Web-based company that will provide the international community living in the U.S. access to their favorite foreign products.
“You will never regret the valuable experience you receive while pursuing your degree, networking, and running your business being in this program,” said Hladkikh. “This is a great opportunity for people who have passion for entrepreneurship, love what they do, and set high goals.”
For Hyman, a Port Washington, N.Y., native and first-year engineering and management major, winning the competition made attending Clarkson feasible. Hyman’s business, Prometheus Safety Solutions, is a registered limited liability company. He expects to have a working prototype of one of his products, a dryer fire prevention system, within the next few weeks.
Hyman’s story was featured in Money magazine and on National Public Radio. He credits that exposure and the program’s assistance with jump-starting his business.
“Winning the competition and the associated scholarships and grants meant to me that I would actually be able to attend my dream school, that I wouldn't have to constantly worry over financials and I could just focus on my education and the business,” said Hyman.
“At the very least, the competition will provide you with a starting point, a spring board for your ideas. It will network you with likeminded people and teach you all sorts of new skills along the way. You might also be surprised at what you will learn about yourself in the process, what you really love to do and how far you will go to support what you stand for.”
Marc Compeau, Reh Center director, expects another strong competition this year.
“Last year's finalists brought a variety of interesting ventures and innovations to campus. We were blown away by the high level of success many young entrepreneurs have achieved,” Compeau said. “We look forward to raising the bar again this year as we offer more equity for scholarship exchanges.”
For consideration, prospective or current Clarkson students who either are operating a business or have a commercializable innovation must apply by Jan. 15, 2013. Anyone not already enrolled at Clarkson must also apply for admission to the University. Up to 10 finalists will be selected to present their business or patentable idea to a panel of expert innovators and entrepreneurs at Clarkson.
Of those 10, up to five students will be chosen as Young Entrepreneurs or Young Innovators. These students will remain responsible for other costs incurred in connection with attendance, including expenses such as housing, meals, books and supplies.
In addition, these students’ businesses will receive the services of the Reh Center for Entrepreneurship and/or the Shipley Center for Innovation, advice from alumni mentors, and will be offered space at no charge in the Peyton Hall incubator. The remaining finalists will also receive services from the Reh and/or Shipley Centers and be offered space at Peyton Hall.
“Aside from the tuition benefit, the program provides students with outstanding networking opportunities and guidance that will better position their business or idea for success,” according to Matthew Draper, deputy director of the Shipley Center. “I am amazed at the level of creativity and passion the students bring to the competition and was impressed with the background work each had done in preparation for the competition.”
Applicants must submit a completed business plan, a 90-second or less video that answers the question "Who am I, outside of my business?", and a brief description of their business. Entrants will be reviewed by the staff of the Reh and Shipley Centers and/or faculty with expertise related to the proposals as necessary.
Draper said potential applicants should be prepared to discuss a vision for their business or innovation and its feasibility.
“If we are successful with the program, we will prepare students to master the process, which they will be able to use over and over again on future ideas,” he said.
Those interested in learning more about the program and applying should go to http://www.clarkson.edu/equity .
Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.