Area High School Students to Compete in Local Startup Competition

Teams will pitch product ideas to a panel of business professionals at the University at Albany’s uptown campus next Wednesday.

 ALBANY, N.Y. (Feb. 21, 2018) –  Area high school students will compete next week at Startup High School New York, an event designed to cultivate teen entrepreneurship in the Capital Region.

The competition will take place Wednesday, Feb. 28 from 5:30-9 p.m. at the University’s uptown campus in the Campus Center (CC375).

The 17 teams, each comprising two to three students, will present a one-minute video advertisement of their product idea to a panel of business professionals.  

The program, organized by the UAlbany Innovation Center, Innovate 518 and Guilderland High School, was the brainchild of Arnav Kannan, a senior at GHS. Kannan said he wanted to create an opportunity for local high school students to acquire the skills necessary to become a successful entrepreneur.

“The Albany area is filled with so many smart kids; it’s only right that they have an outlet to express their creativity,” Kannan said. “The event is almost like an incubator: these students have a network of amazing local entrepreneurs, as well as other students who have a similar burning passion for entrepreneurship.”

He said he was able to put his idea into action with the help of Joan McGrath, one of his teachers at GHS, and from mentor Robert Manasier, UAlbany’s entrepreneur-in-residence and ventures manager.

“Robert brought the entrepreneur’s perspective, Joan brought the educator’s and I brought the student’s,” said Kannan, who said he plans to host more events like Startup High School New York in the future. “All of us have skills that work very well together.”

Manasier, who is also the chief executive officer at In Focus Brands, said the goal of Startup High School New York is to use experiential learning to give students a head start in developing an entrepreneurial mindset.

“The earlier we can embed students in an entrepreneurial ecosystem, the better life skills and experiences they’ll have,” he said. “The event will also showcase that the [Capital Region] area is rich; you don’t have to look elsewhere to get an education” and become an entrepreneur. 

Manasier said local entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship educators from throughout the region have mentored the students throughout the process, from developing their pitches to producing the videos. 

Event Sponsors

·         Innovate 518

·         Jahnel Group

·         4Cite Marketing

·         Heslin Rothenberg Farley & Mesiti P.C.

·         KeyBank

·         Pioneer Bank

·         Beef Jerky Outlet

·         Troy Web Consulting

For more information:

The UAlbany Innovation Center serves to drive and strengthen the culture of entrepreneurship and innovation at the University, and to accelerate the commercialization of university research and innovative ideas. The center brings industry leaders and university experts together to enable collaboration across disciplines. Support of innovation activities are provided by Innovate 518, the Capital Region’s Innovation Hot Spot. Innovate 518 is a partnership between the University at Albany, NYSTEC/IgniteU NY, SUNY Adirondack and the Center for Economic Growth, and is designated as a New York State Innovation Hot Spot by NYSTAR.