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VentureWorks Programs

Annual Pitch Fest (Our Version of Shark Tank!)

Students, parents, alumni, faculty, staff, and community members are all invited to participate in SUNY Geneseo’s Annual Pitch Fest (think Shark Tank!).  This event gives students enrolled in the entrepreneurship program the opportunity to pitch new business ideas, which they can analyze and possibly pursue as new start-up companies. The audience will hear 28 pitches from 28 students.  Ideas fall into six categories: energy/sustainability, advanced and bio technologies, software/IT, products, services, and social/NFP.  Each student is allowed 2 minutes to provide an overview of their new business idea. Our audience members, many of whom have significant business expertise, are then invited to offer their opinions on which ideas they think might have commercial viability or which are doomed from the start!

Pitch Fest is very a very fun and interactive event but has a very serious purpose.  We mean business! 


Head-Start Workshop

In mid-January, before the Spring Semester begins, VentureWorks offer its cornerstone program called the Head-Start Workshop (HSW).  In preparation for, and literally to give the students a “head-start” on the semester, student teams and their campus/community mentors gather for this 2 ½ day event.  Six to seven teams are formed around 6-7 potential new business ideas that were vetted and selected during the fall semester.  An intense, well proven, analysis methodology is used to develop “skinny” commercialization plans for these potential new businesses. A workshop facilitator and mentors shepherd students through this initial business planning process. More information about the HSW can be found here. 

Alumni, parents, and other community members with significant experience in business and entrepreneurship and who are interested in mentoring/participating in the next HSW can download an agenda here.  Please contact us soon to learn how to get involved!


NYBPC, Finger Lakes Regionals 

Geneseo students enrolled in the VentureWorks program compete annually in the Finger Lakes Regionals of the New York Business Plan Competition (NYBPC), This is a competition for both undergraduate and graduate students.  Preliminary rounds are hosted locally by the University of Rochester.  Participating colleges and universities include UR, RIT, St John Fisher College, Hobart William Smith, Nazareth, SUNY Brockport, SUNY Geneseo, etc.  This competition occurs annually in mid-April. The top twelve teams from our region, who are selected as finalists, advance to the statewide competition in Albany. 


NYBPC, State Finals, Albany

Finalists from each of the 10 major regional competitions (Capital Region, Central New York, North Country, Mohawk Valley, Finger Lakes, Western New York, Southern Tier, Mid-Hudson, New York City, and Long Island) advance to the statewide competition of the New York Business Plan Competition(NYBPC), hosted by SUNY Polytechnic in Albany.  There, up to 120 teams go head-to-head for more than $225,000 in cash and in-kind prizes.  Since the commencement of the VentureWorks program, Geneseo has sent between 3-7 teams each year to the state finals with numerous awards won.