Entrepreneurial students at Syracuse University will have the opportunity to test their pitch skills for prize money in a new competition supported in part by the Raymond Von Dran (RvD) Fund for Student Entrepreneurship at the School of Information Studies (iSchool).

A total of $140,000 in prize money is up for grabs, with $40,000 reserved just for Syracuse University students, in the form of the RvD iPrize. Students vying for iPrize funds will also automatically be entered into CompeteCNY, the regional qualifier for the New York State Business Plan Competition, with a $100,000 grand prize at stake.

Applications for the pitch competition are due on March 15, and the competition will be held in the Blackstone LaunchPad in Bird Library on March 24 at 4:00 PM.

Student teams can submit an application for one of the following categories:

  • Information Technology/Software
  • Clean Technology
  • Advanced Technology
  • Products
  • Services
  • Entrepreneurship/Non-Profit

Details about these categories as well as the application, are available online.

“The iSchool is thrilled to partner with the Blackstone LaunchPad to bring this new pitch competition to Syracuse University,” said iSchool dean Liz Liddy. “I hope that our new iPrize will encourage students to pitch their innovative ideas and share them with the entrepreneurial community here at Syracuse. The legacy of former iSchool dean Ray von Dran lives on through the RvD Fund, and our new iPrize.”

The RvD Fund for Student Entrepreneurship is named after former dean Raymond Von Dran. He served from 1995 to 2007, when he passed away. von Dran was a long-time academic entrepreneur who started many innovative programs in higher education and supported student innovation and entrepreneurship. His wife, Gisela, ensured that her husband’s infectious spirit for innovation lived on through the creation of the RvD Fund after his death.

The LaunchPad has arranged an application workshop for interested students, to be held on Wednesday, March 8, at 5:00 PM in the Blackstone LaunchPad.

There will also be a pitch workshop on March 22.

“iSchool faculty members in the Information Technology, Design, and Startups program and Blackstone LaunchPad staff will be available to work with and mentor Syracuse students participating in the competition,” said Braden Croy, program manager at the Blackstone LaunchPad.

All details on the iPrize and CompeteCNY contests are available online at the iPrize website.

Questions can be directed to Braden Croy at pbcroy@syr.edu.