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SmartPitch Challenge Kick-off Invites City-wide Student Entrepreneurs to Bring Their Innovative Business Ideas

$40,000 in Prizes to be Awarded


Students sign up to compete in the 13th Annual CUNY IVE SmartPitch Challenge.


NEW YORK, NY-January 29, 2015 - This spring a diverse group of young entrepreneurs from New York City will compete in the 13th Annual CUNY IVE SmartPitch Challenge, hosted by Baruch College, the Lawrence N. Field Center for Entrepreneurship and the City University of New York (CUNY) Center for Student Entrepreneurship (CSE).

The Smart Pitch Challenge, created by the CUNY Institute for Virtual Enterprise, gives student entrepreneurs an opportunity to create and validate a business concept, pitch their idea and follow a business plan to ultimately launch their business.

The Verizon Foundation, the competition’s sponsor, is providing financial support for this year’s SmartPitch Challenge, including $40,000 in prizes for the winning teams. Verizon will also offer mentors to provide infrastructure, marketing, and general business management support to the teams.

The competition kick-off is scheduled at 9 a.m. on Friday, January 30, at Baruch College in room 750 of the Newman Conference Center at Baruch College, with a reception featuring remarks by noted business entrepreneurs, educators and mentors. A series of supporting events will be hosted throughout the challenge that will lead up to the formal SmartPitch competition on June 4. A list of events and updates can be found on Facebook and their Social Networking Site.

At the kick-off event, remarks will be presented by Dr. Stuart Schulman, Director of CUNY IVE; Dr. Edward Rogoff, Field Professor of Entrepreneurship; Dr. John Clark, Acting University Executive Director, CUNY; and Dr. Christoph Winkler, Associate Director CUNY IVE.

Lou Anne Flanders-Stec, Administrative Director of CSE will introduce the student panelists that include Dwight Peters, founder of; Aditya Kumarakrishnan, founder of Teslab; and Jessica Rosario, founder of Sedulous Shoes.

The CUNY Institute for Virtual Enterprise (IVE) was a pioneer when it launched a social networking platform to provide virtual mentoring and resources for student entrepreneurs in 2007. During the SmartPitch Challenge, this platform will serve as the virtual coworking space to engage mentors, ask experts and find peer support. In addition, there will be a series of face-to-face support events, workshops, and roundtables leading to the SmartPitch Challenge competition on June 4, where student entrepreneurs will make their presentations “pitches” and compete against other U.S. universities and colleges.

The focus of the competition is to seek out innovative student concepts. These innovative approaches can be in the form of new technological advances, new strategic alliances, new methods or processes or new strategies. The concepts could, but are not required to, fall into one of the following tracks:

  • Education: mobile learning, tablet computing, learning analytics, gaming and gamification
  • Healthcare: healthcare, pharma, patient management, sports, exercise, behavior, diagnostics
  • Sustainability: alternative energy, green initiatives, energy storage, bio/sustainable fuel
  • Smarter Cities: transportation, security, pollution, technology solutions

The best teams will be invited to present their concepts at the SmartPitch Event on June 4 and compete for $40,000 in prizes. The Grand Prize winner receives $15,000; Education Track winner receives $5,000, Healthcare Track winner receives $5,000, Sustainability Track winner receives $5,000; and the Smarter Cities Track winner receives $5,000. The Most Innovative App (with Beta) winner receives $3,000, and Fan Favorite winner receives $2,000.



About Baruch College:

Baruch College is a senior college in the City University of New York (CUNY) with a total enrollment of more than 18,000 students, who represent 160 countries and speak more than 100 languages. Ranked among the top 15% of U.S. colleges and the No. 4 public regional university, Baruch College is regularly recognized as among the most ethnically diverse colleges in the country. As a public institution with a tradition of academic excellence, Baruch College offers accessibility and opportunity for students from every corner of New York City and from around the world. For more about Baruch College, go to



Manny Romero, (646) 660-6141,
Mercedes Sanchez, (646) 660-6112,

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