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Cayuga Community College Students Recognized for Innovative Business Ideas

DATE: 05-19-2011

From creating a mobile music and video recording studio to developing a service that transforms the family car into a stunt vehicle, Cayuga Community College students want to create their own futures and have some ideas on how they might do that.

The Business Idea Competition challenged Cayuga students to brainstorm possible business ideas, identify potential customers, and describe the methods they would use to market their ideas. Coordinator of the University Center at Cayuga Michael Greene organized the competition in partnership with Morrisville State College to support students interested in entrepreneurship. Morrisville awarded four Cayuga student winners cash prizes totaling $500 with funds from a Kauffman Foundation Enitiative grant.

Audio/radio production major Lance Hall ’11 of Oswego submitted the first-place business idea: Mobile Studio, which he described as being an affordable service that provides musicians with the ability to record their music and/or make their own music videos. He received $200 for his idea.

Cayuga Community College President Daniel P. Larson congratulated Hall and presented him with a certificate during a May 13 event on the Auburn Campus. He also asked Hall how much capital he would need to launch his business.

“I don’t know that yet,” Hall said. “That’s why I am going to take the entrepreneurship course next fall, so I can learn how to put together a business plan and financials.”

Hall said he is proud and happy to have won this competition, and he believes he will someday open multiple businesses, including a mobile studio.

“Entrepreneurs keep things fresh and interesting,” he said. “To be successful, I think you need to be creative and always follow your interests—no matter how big or how small.”

The runners-up each received $100:

  • Matthew DeSimone of Auburn: Control Alt Delete Solutions, a technical solutions business offering service to computers, web site design and maintenance, and digital photo editing
  • Marc Gummerson of Seneca Falls: The AMSA, or Average Man’s Stunt Arena, a company that custom-fits cars with safety equipment enabling “an average guy in his station wagon to do doughnuts” and high-speed moves
  • Tina Palmitesso of Fulton: a licensed itinerant vehicle collector that recycles automobiles and scrap metal

Palmitesso said she would love to start her own business and has been involved in her family-run metal scrapping business. “Not only was that business profitable, but it pulled our family together, let us meet many new people, and made us feel like we were making a difference,” she said. “Entrepreneurs are important to a community because they help bring in money and jobs and expand the tax base.”

Cayuga Professor Thomas Paczkowski, the Fred L. Emerson Endowed Chair in Enterprise and Innovation, was pleased to see the range of student ideas generated by the contest. He and fellow faculty members are infusing innovation and entrepreneurial thinking and training across the curriculum, whether that is music, business, history, or criminal justice. He developed three core courses in entrepreneurship that are offered in both academic and community education formats to reach the widest audience possible.

Cayuga’s infusion model promotes the idea that people in any field—not just those studying business—are entrepreneurs and innovators, Larson said.

“This competition builds on a solid foundation of entrepreneurship cultivation at the College,” said Larson, who serves on the board of the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship. “We were the first community college to have an endowed professorship in entrepreneurship, and we have strong ties to the Stardust Entrepreneurial Institute in Auburn. Students in our programs learn the tools and are exposed to the entrepreneurial mindset that empowers them to be innovators and change-agents whatever the field they choose to pursue.”

The Business Idea Competition was sponsored by Morrisville State College through a Kauffman Foundation grant administered by Enitiative, a coalition of academic and community partners committed to promoting entrepreneurship throughout Central New York. To date, Cayuga Community College has received more than $300,000 from the Kauffman Foundation-supported Enitiative to fund 18 entrepreneurial projects.