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Baruch College and Merrill Lynch Announce
Winners of 2008 Entrepreneurship Competition

Photo - Members of the iSight Media team

Members of the iSight Media team submitted a winning proposal for an Internet advertising service targeting specific populations.

-- Photo by Tracy Price

New York, NY – May 27, 2008 – iSight Media and the Blueskies Project have been announced as winning entries in the 2008 Baruch College & Merrill Lynch Entrepreneurship Competition. The annual competition, open to all Baruch students, their friends, and business partners, takes place under the auspices of the Field Center for Entrepreneurship at Baruch College.

Two teams of students, from Brooklyn and Queens, will receive awards and seed money for their business plans at a dinner ceremony on May 27, 2008. Nancy Ploeger, head of the Manhattan City Chamber of Commerce, and Avi Schick, president of the Empire State Development Corporation, will attend the ceremony along with Merrill Lynch executives, faculty and staff of the Field Center, and student awardees.

In the traditional business track, Jason C. Nocco, Dmitriy Malinovskiy, and Stephen Forte, Executive MBA candidates at Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business, will receive $10,000 for their first-place entry and another $20,000 in start-up funds for an Internet-based company that will connect advertisers with specific demographic populations. According to Brooklyn resident Malinovskiy, the trio plan to “billboard the Internet” while also creating websites for businesses big and small within targeted geographic locales.

The Blueskies Project, winners of the “social track” of the entrepreneurship competition, will also make use of the Internet. Melanie Lavelle, an MPA candidate in the School of Public Affairs, said that her team will create and launch a nationwide site featuring “tools to help low-income working people learn about and apply for social safety-net benefits.” Lavelle added that, as part of their business plan, her team will be recruiting Internet-savvy young people to create the software programs needed to set up such a site. Currently, she added, “these technology tools only exist on a national level for senior citizens.”

A resident of Park Slope, Brooklyn, Lavelle is the leader of a team that also includes Jeong Bae and Deana Murtha. All three are students in Baruch’s School of Public Affairs. The team will share $10,000 first-prize money and $20,000 in start-up funds.

Past winners of the Baruch College and Merrill Lynch Entrepreneurship Competition have launched such ventures as the South Bronx Food Cooperative; Winito, an online sports hub; M. Panada, a fast-food purveyor of empanadas; and Kognito, asoftware designer of e-learning programs.

The entrepreneurship competition begins each year in September. Over the course of several months, student teams work toward a detailed business plan that they defend and explicate in oral presentations before a group of mentors and business professionals. The competition provides students with a unique learning experience that is exciting, educational, and essential to the emergence of innovative new firms.


Zane Berzins
News Director

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