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Baruch Students Win NYS Business Plan Competition

baruch students zicklin

David Kurfirst’15 and Chris Zumtobel’15


NEW YORK, NY April 30, 2015- Two Baruch College students from the Zicklin School of Business have been named the winners of the 6th Annual New York Business Plan Competition. Chris Zumtobel’15 and David Kurfirst’15 won first place in the IT/Software Category.

The New York Business Plan Competition is a statewide tournament where the top teams from 10 different regions advanced to the finals in Albany, New York on April 24, 2015. A panel of national venture capitalists, angel investors, investment bankers, and seasoned entrepreneurs selected the winning teams.

Chris Zumtobel ’15, Entrepreneurial Storytelling Major, and David Kurfirst’15, Entrepreneurship & Religious Ethics Major, presented their business venture, Think Olio- a crowd-learning platform that facilitates in-person education. They use the peer-to-peer platform to create communities that connect teachers, hosts, and students.

The two met last year in their Social Entrepreneurship class at The Lawrence N. Field Center for Entrepreneurship with Professor Chris Michael.

Our experience in Chris Michael’s class is the reason we won the competition,” says Zumtobel. “His passion was so strong that he had all of us staying 30 minutes after class to continue talking about workers cooperatives. David and I would walk to the train together and talk about how much we were going to miss this sort of learning environment after graduation. We realized this sort of thing is extremely hard to find within the university setting, and nearly impossible to find outside of it. We started to think of ways to create this amazing experience for as many people as possible and worked our way to what it is now Think Olio.”

Zumtobel and Kurfirst won a $10,000 cash prize that will go toward further development of Think Olio.

Teams from the following colleges and universities participated in the final round of the competition: SUNY Polytechnic Institute (including teams from both the Albany and Utica campuses); Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; University at Albany; Skidmore College; CUNY - Queensborough Community College; CUNY - Queens College; CUNY - Baruch College; CUNY - Hunter College; CUNY - Medgar Evers College; Farmingdale State College; Molloy College; Stony Brook University; SUNY Geneseo; Rochester Institute of Technology; University of Rochester; Hobart and William Smith Colleges; Marist College; Culinary Institute of America; United States Military Academy at West Point; Nyack College; Bard College; University at Buffalo; Daemen College; Paul Smith's College; Clarkson University; SUNY Potsdam; Syracuse University; Utica College; SUNY ESF; SUNY Oneonta (Cooperstown Grad Program); Morrisville State College; Hamilton College; SUNY Cobleskill; Mohawk Valley Community College; Ithaca College; Cornell University; and Binghamton University.

Since 2010, over 1,130 student teams from 75 of New York’s colleges and universities have pitched their ideas and ventures at the New York Business Plan Competition. At the end of the 2014 competition, more than $1,300,000 in prizes was awarded to student entrepreneurs in New York.


About The Lawrence N. Field Center for Entrepreneurship:

The Lawrence N. Field Center for Entrepreneurship is a model of entrepreneurship education built around the collaboration of an institution of higher education, government, and the private sector. Faculty and students from Baruch’s Zicklin School of Business, Baruch’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Business advisors, alumni and volunteers are brought together to support the entrepreneurial endeavors of start-ups and established businesses and the college’s constituents. Since its inception in 1993, the Center’s role as an engine for economic impact has been substantial: 16,277 businesses have been served, $110,551,952 invested in the area’s economy and 5,676 jobs have been saved or created.


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 164 countries and speak more than 129 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



Kirk Petersen, (646) 660-6124,

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