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Two teams of budding entrepreneurs from Morrisville State College win at regional competition, advance to statewide competition

MORRISVILLE, N.Y.— Two teams of entrepreneurs from Morrisville State College won top spots in the Mohawk Valley Qualifier of the New York State Business Plan Competition held recently at SUNYIT.

The wins advanced the teams, AutoPrice Negotiators LLC, and Miracles on Lice, to the 2013 New York Business Plan Competition (NYBPC), which will be held at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering in Albany on April 26.

They were among 23 teams that competed in the Mohawk Valley Qualifier, in which the top six teams move on to the statewide contest.

As a car salesman, Brendan Nally has witnessed his share of common frustrations from customers shopping for cars. With that in mind, AutoPrice Negotiators LLC unfurled a business venture aimed at helping car buyers.

And in her line of work as a cosmetologist, Amanda Slader saw a distinct need for a mobile delousing service which became the concept behind Miracles on Lice.

A total of 12 MSC teams from associate professor Phyllis Tucker’s Analytical Marketing classes, comprised of students from various majors, competed in the regional Mohawk Valley Qualifier contest.

The NYBPC, noted as “The Premier Collegiate Contest,” is an innovation competition started to encourage entrepreneurship throughout New York State’s colleges and universities.

Teams compete in one of six categories: healthcare/biotechnology, information technology/software, nanotechnology/high tech, clean energy/sustainability, products/services, social entrepreneurship/non-profit.

Similar to the television reality show, Shark Tank, which features business pitches from aspiring entrepreneurs to a panel of potential investors, teams will have 10 minutes to pitch their ideas, followed by a Q&A with a panel of judges.

Teams advancing to the statewide competition are hoping to earn seed money to actually start their ventures. Winners will be selected by esteemed judges including venture capitalists, investment bankers, seasoned entrepreneurs and public and private investors.

“There is definitely a market for our service,” Slader said about Miracles on Lice, which focuses on non-toxic products and being mobile. “We will give our customers the services they need in the privacy of their own home. There are so many things we would want to use the money for to make this a business.”

AutoPrice Negotiators LLC offers hassle-free car buying advice for a flat fee. “We wanted to find a way to make money based on saving people money,” Nally said about the business which handles everything for prospective car buyers, from test driving to negotiating a price.

“Based on our knowledge and experience, we can get people the best possible deal,” Nally said.

Teams are readying for the state competition, tightening up their financial information and working on their weaknesses. Their classroom experience has given them an edge.

“We have already learned so much in class that helped us in the competition,” Slader said, including devising a solid business plan, researching target markets and gathering financial information.

“I’m really proud of every team that competed,” Tucker said. “Regardless who won (in the regional contest), this competition was a wonderful opportunity and it transformed some of my students. They did things they didn’t even know they could do.”

Floyd Johnson was among students who flew solo in the Mohawk Valley Qualifier, which helped him overcome his public speaking apprehension. Johnson, 21, an entrepreneurship and small business management major, wants to start up his own limo business in his Brooklyn hometown.

“I am gaining all of the skills I need from Morrisville, and with them, I plan to go forward and keep chasing my dream,” Johnson said.

MSC teams are comprised of: AutoPrice Negotiators: Brendan Nally, of Burnt Hills, NY, and Zachary Ogden, of Troy, NY, both automotive technology management students; Marla Trew, of Munnsville, entrepreneurship and small business management; and Juan Rios, of Grahamsville, NY, technology management.

Miracles on Lice: Amanda Slader, of Ballston Lake, NY, entrepreneurship and small business management; Juan Salce, of Bronx, NY, information technology-application software development; and Nathan Brown, of Queens, an information technology-electronic marketing & publishing.

Morrisville State College sets the world in motion for students. Curriculums are enriched with applied learning and pave the way for opportunity at both the Morrisville and Norwich campuses. An action-oriented, interactive learning lab, the college is a national leader in technology. Lauded for its exemplary, innovative and effective community service programs, the college was named to the 2012 President’s Higher Community Service Honor Roll. Visit www.morrisville.edu to experience, Morrisville in motion.