Categories Determined by New York State

Six different tracks, as decided 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 Q&A from the judges.

Information Technology/Software

Any idea, technology, product, and/or service that relates to apps, informational technology, software, and/or internet applications in for profit enterprises. If the value that your idea or technology provided lies in the creation of or is delivered through an app, then you belong in this category.

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, an app or website that aggregates data and reviews about solar panel installers.

Social Entrepreneurship/Non-Profit

Any idea, product, and/or service that addresses a social need, for which profit is not the primary motivation, or provides a product/service for nonprofits. If formed, the venture would either be a Benefit corporation or be eligible for 501(c) status.

Examples: Selling a good or service that raises awareness and donates a significant portion of the revenues to a cause, organization that provides financial literacy training, cooperative non-profit coffee shop, bike trail, a website to connect community members with volunteer opportunities.

Clean Technology

Any idea, technology, process, product, and/or service 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, composting subscription service.

Advanced Technology

Any idea, technology, product, and/or service that related to materials science, life science, advanced hardware, semiconductors, optics, and/or electronics applications that are not applicable to Clean energy. These products and processes have been likely developed after years of laboratory research and have patent protection.

Examples: High-performance skis coated with nanomaterials, vibration detector, new method for testing pharmaceuticals, physical therapy massager.


Any physical, tangible goods offered for sale.

Examples: Custom designer eyewear, vending machine, protein shakes, craft beer or alcoholic beverages, innovative water bottle, locally sourced tea, camera backpack.


A value add process for delivering products of fulfilling customer needs.

Examples: Lice removal company, meal delivery, custom clothing design, custom song writing service.

Categories Determined by Clarkson University

Unique to the North Country Regional Business Plan Competition, Clarkson University offers a track that is available to High School students.

High School Track

Clarkson Ignite is pleased to offer the inclusion of a High School category in the North Country Regional Business Plan Competition. Beginning in 2015, High School students became eligible to pitch their business ideas at our regional event for the opportunity to win both cash prizes as well as scholarship money to Clarkson University. This category is open to any High School student that lives in the North Country Region. This track does not move on to the statewide competition.


College Prizes

In each of the six standard college categories, prizes awarded will be:

First Place - $2,000 and advances to the state competition in Albany

Second Place - $1,000 and advances to the state competition in Albany

Third Place - $500

High School

In the high school category, prizes awarded will be:

First Place - $500 plus a $4,000/year scholarship to CU

Second Place - $300 plus a $2,000/year scholarship to CU

Third Place - $200 plus a $1,000/year scholarship to CU

All Participants - Additionally all high school participants will receive a $1,000/year scholarship to CU.


The New York Business Plan Competition (NYBPC) reserves the right to withhold prize money and/or in-kind services from winning teams who do not comply with the eligibility requirements. In order to be eligible to apply for and participate in the NYBPC, all teams must meet the following criteria:

  • Teams must consist entirely of currently enrolled graduate and/or undergraduate students from accredited New York State colleges and universities

  • A faculty or staff member is required to be listed as an advisor for the team; offering guidance, support, and technical expertise

  • Students may not participate on more than 1 team each year of the competition

  • Cumulative public and private capital raised may not exceed $100,000

  • Student ownership of venture must be 100%

We would like to extend a generous thanks to our sponsors who have made this event possible for the North Country Region! Please contact us if you are interested in sponsoring this exciting event!

2018 Lead Sponsor

The Development Corp Logo

Supporting Sponsors

Community Bank Logo
aramark logo

Friend and Local Sponsors

NuMED for Children Logo
Watertown Savings Bank Logo
SeaComm Logo