|Harrisburg – A proposed internet and mobile based marketing platform designed to help small businesses effectively market their promotions to college students took the top prize in the second Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) Student Business Plan Competition.|
The plan for Dorm Discount (.com) was developed by Krutarth Patel of Harrisburg, a student at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP). The service would provide a unique self-service coupon creator and management system that business owners would use to generate, monitor and modify promotions easily and conveniently. Its goal would be to maximize savings to college students while boosting revenues for small business owners
Thomas Rounsville Jr. of East Stroudsburg and East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania took second place in the competition with his proposal to create a system that would allow investigators collecting evidence at a wildlife crime scene to use essentially the same techniques and technologies that are used in human forensics. The use of such technology in the field could result in rapid identification of potential poachers.
Paul Rosa of Wyomissing and Sean Roth of Zionsville, both students at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania, took third place with a proposal to create a social network that would allow sports fans to post 15-second video clips of themselves speaking about popular topics, which then could be viewed by a mass audience. It would give the user the ability to interact and reply to other fans’ video posts with their own video posts while experiencing smooth site navigation in an online sports community.
The winners of the competition will receive $10,000, $5,000 and $2,500 respectively, to be used as seed money to assist in the startup of their proposed business ventures.
More than 200 student teams competed in this year’s competition, designed to provide student entrepreneurs a real-world opportunity to pitch their original business plans. The competition was sponsored by the Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union (PSECU), F&M Trust, PNC Bank, Hershey Entertainment & Resorts and JP Morgan and was partially funded by a Keystone Innovation Grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.
Judges for the competition were Michael Gildea, president of Brain Gain, LLC; Pam Martin, director of the South Central Region, Ben Franklin Technology Partners; David Dentler, board member, Pennsylvania State Employee Credit Union; Finesse Cobb, vice president of APP Business Solutions; and Michael March, an analyst with Osage Venture Partners.
The Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education is the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth, with about 115,000 students. The 14 PASSHE universities offer degree and certificate programs in more than 120 areas of study. About 500,000 PASSHE alumni live and work in Pennsylvania.
The state-owned universities are Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester Universities of Pennsylvania. PASSHE also operates branch campuses in Clearfield, Freeport, Oil City and Punxsutawney and several regional centers, including the Dixon University Center in Harrisburg and the Philadelphia Multi University Center in Philadelphia.