2020 North Country Regional Business Plan Competition Hosted by Clarkson University

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the North Country Regional Business Plan Competition will be a virtual event this year. We are happy to announce the competition will be held on Friday, April 3, 2020, just in a virtual environment. Teams will pitch their businesses to judges who will be participating live.

We are thankful to our judges and our sponsors for supporting this event! Please take a few moments to review and acknowledge the sponsors and judges (see below) who have continued to support the students and teams during this crisis.

The North Country Regional Business Plan Competition (NCRBPC) brings students from schools across the region to compete for monetary awards to help develop their ideas and concepts. Students will pitch their ideas and ventures to a group of esteemed judges who will evaluate companies according to a select criteria and will focus their deliberations around the sustainable viability of each venture.

The NCRBPC is a regional qualifier for the New York State competition and will be held on Friday, April 3, 2020 at the Hotel Saranac, Saranac Lake, NY. The top two teams in each track from the 10 regional competitions across the state are eligible to advance to the statewide competition in Albany on May 1, 2020.

To register, visit New York State Business Plan Competition

Track Definitions Determined by New York State

Six different tracks, as determined by New York State, are available for student ventures at the regional and state level competitions. Each team has 10 minutes to present and 5 minutes for questions and answers from the judging panel.

The track definitions for 2020 are:

AgTech & Food

  • Any idea, technology, process, product, and/or service that relates to agriculture, food production or distribution, or food waste.
  • Examples:  tea subscription box, crop management software, composting service, protein shakes, craft beer or alcoholic beverages, food prep subscription boxes.

Energy & Environment

  • Any idea, technology, process, product, and/or service, not included in any previous category, that relates to energy, clean energy, renewable energy, energy efficiency, environmental, and/or sustainability applications.
  • Examples:   Recycling technology, LED manufacturing technology, lithium ion batteries, clean energy crowdfunding service.

Military & First Responder

  • Any idea, technology, process, product, and/or service, not included in any previous category, that relates to the needs of utility workers, military, first responders, government applications or transportation industry.
  • Examples:   high temperature safety clothes, utility inspection software, drone technology, fleet management and routing software.

MedTech & Well-Being

  • Any idea, technology, process, product, and/or service, not included in any previous category that relates to biotech, sports, medical care or well-being, including mental health.
  • Examples:   new method for testing pharmaceuticals, physical therapy massager, implant technology, suicide prevention apps, and skin care solutions.

Technology & Entertainment

  • Any idea, technology, process, product, and/or service, not included in any previous category, that relates to consumer software/online platforms, cryptocurrency, entertainment, fintech, or music.
  • Examples:   an app that helps pair potential roommates, a website/app that uses social media to collect payments from friends, a web service designed to tailor resumes for specific jobs, a file sharing service, software platform for salon management.

Consumer Products & Services

  • Any idea, technology, process, product, and/or service, not included in any previous category, that relates to generally intended for use by individuals or households.
  • Examples:   designer eyewear, custom vending machines, camera backpack, fashion subscription box, or custom clothing design.


In order to be eligible to apply for and participate in the competition, all teams must meet the following criteria:

  • “Students” are any graduate, undergraduate, and/or community college students enrolled part- or full-time in accredited New York colleges and universities during the current academic year. Students who graduate during the fall semester are still eligible to compete in the competition during the spring semester.
  • Student(s) must be the presenter(s) in all stages of the competition.
  • Teams may compete in only one region per year.
  • Students may not participate on more than one team per year.
  • Grand prize winners from previous years’ competitions are no longer eligible to participate in the competition. They are encouraged to participate as speakers, mentors, volunteers, and judges. Individual members of the winning team may return with new teams in subsequent years.

The following rules apply to teams with incorporated ventures:

  • Cumulative public and private capital raised may not exceed $100,000. This does not include research funding that may have supported the development of the technology in an academic laboratory.
  • The business venture must be at least 80 percent owned by students.

The New York Business Plan Competition reserves the right to withhold prize money from winning teams who do not comply with the eligibility requirements.


We would be unable to hold this event without the assistance of the following professionals and their vast experience. We are grateful for their participation and support of students, teams, and Clarkson Ignite:

  • Craig Stevens: Community Bank
  • Dennis Danella: Woods Oviatt Gilman LLP
  • Eric Foster: 1015 Creative LLC
  • Joseph Visalli: Eastern NY Angels
  • Mark Cornett: Precise Biometrics Inc.
  • Mark Sperry: LC Drives
  • Melinda Little: Point Positive Inc.
  • Patrick Murphy: Saranac Lake Chamber of Commerce
  • Russ Kinyon: Franklin County Industrial Development Agency


The regional competition is made possible due to the dedicated sponsorship of businesses across the North Country. The sponsors for this year include:

The Development Corporation
Community Bank N.A.
Point Positive, Inc
Clarkson University Shipley Center for Innovation
Acco Brands
Whiteman Osterman & Hanna LLP Attorneys at Law
Bousquet Holstein Inc
St. Lawrence Health Systems
North Country Savings Bank
Edward Jones Making Sense of Investing
Saranac Lake, NY
County of Franklin Industrial Development Agency
Long Run Wealth Advisors
Adirondack Foundation

If you have questions regarding the North Country Regional event contact: Ann Barrett, Program Coordinator, Clarkson Ignite, abarrett@clarkson.edu or call 315-268-3978.