• Got the Next Big Idea for a New Company? Pitch it to the Pros for a $10,000 Cash Grant!

  • APRIL 08, 2014 | BIZ TIPS, ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT, YOUNG PROFESSIONALS

  • Winner of Pitch Contest Also Secures Spot in BLUEPRINT Business Accelerator

  • Here’s an important message to entrepreneurs frustrated by the lack of affordable lab and office space in Silicon Valley, Silicon Alley, and Williamsburg: Look north to the land of opportunity just across the New York City border: Westchester County. Westchester is cultivating a vibrant innovation economy fueled by global companies such as Regeneron Pharmaceuticals and IBM, a thriving network of small businesses, and a growing number of entrepreneurial ventures that call Westchester home. A medtech incubator, business accelerator network, and networking group for entrepreneurs are supporting the next generation of innovators, too. To call attention to all that Westchester has to offer entrepreneurial growth companies and health tech startups, the Westchester County Association and its economic development arm, The BLUEPRINT for Westchester, has organized HealthTech ’14: Fueling Innovation in Westchester, a groundbreaking two-day conference with content and a pitch contest for entrepreneurs and early-stage companies ready to take root in Westchester...


    The conference begins on Wednesday afternoon May 7th with “Entrepreneurs’ Edge, ” a panel discussion with national experts in startup law, banking, crowdfunding, and venture capital, who will talk about the latest news and trends for entrepreneurs, and who will be available to meet with attendees afterwards. “Entrepreneurs’ Edge” will be followed by “Pitch to the Pros,” an opportunity for companies to present their “Big Idea” to a panel of judges. The winner will receive a $10K cash grant and automatic acceptance into Westchester’s BLUEPRINT Accelerator Network -- which offers one year of rent-free private office space, complimentary professional services, and access to financing and mentoring. “Pitch to the Pros” requires prior application online, and selected contestants will be notified before the conference begins. 

    Who Can Apply—and How

    The WCA is now taking applications for the pitch contest. Criteria are simple: Provide a business plan, financials demonstrating a minimum of six months of revenue, and a demonstration of a willingness to locate in Westchester County. Interested entrepreneurs should visit The BLUEPRINT for Westchester for more information and application guidelines, and should and submit their applications by 8 a.m. on April 22. On April 24, the WCA will notify selected applicants who will pitch on May 7.

    Selected companies will have five minutes to present their startup idea or early-stage business plan and answer any questions from a distinguished panel of judges. Be prepared to tell us (a) what problem you are trying to solve; (b) what market sector you want to enter and why; (c) who you are and why you believe you are qualified to lead this enterprise; (d) who is on your team; (e) how much capital you will need to reach the milestones you cite; (f) who or what is your competition. 

    The judges are: Brian Aoaeh, Partner, KEC Holdings; Dennis Goett, Principal, Sage Capital Solutions; Mark Kronenfeld, MD, Vice Chairman of Anesthesiology, Maimonides Medical Center; Jack Kopnisky, President & CEO, Sterling National Bank, Chair, BLUEPRINT Accelerator Network; Daniel Papes, Senior Executive, Westcon Group, Inc.; John Cohn, Managing Director, Diamond Capital Advisors; Stan Freimuth, CEO, Debt Resolve, Inc.; and John Ritacco, President & CEO, CMS Bank.

    The judges will evaluate the pitches, and announce the winner during a two-hour cocktail and networking reception. The winner of Pitch to the Pros will receive a $10,000 grant to grow its business, plus immediate acceptance into the BLUEPRINT Accelerator Network. The first runner-up will be accepted into the Accelerator as well.

    Entrepreneurs’ Edge and Pitch to the Pros takes place May 7 from 3:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at the DoubleTree Hotel in Tarrytown, New York. The conference continues with a full day of compelling speakers and panel discussions on May 8.

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