This year’s Panasci Business Plan Competition featured many student teams working in the Student Sandbox at the Syracuse Technology Garden. The Student Sandbox is part of the Student Start-Up Accelerator, a collaborative project led by Syracuse University and the Technology Garden that supports student entrepreneurs through applied courses, the sandbox business incubator, Orange Tree Fund, and iVenture Upstate that connects businesses to student talent.

Three of the six finalists who delivered their final presentations on April 24 are currently located in the Student Sandbox, a space for student entrepreneurs to develop and launch their innovative business ideas with the support and guidance of business experts at the Tech Garden. After the presentations, the panel awarded, created by Whitman seniors Taylor Louis and Ray Williams, the
first place prize of $25,000. is a skill gaming web site that provides interactive online games for users to play and win cash prizes. With the guidance of entrepreneurial experts at the Student Sandbox, Louis and Williams have generated a five-year plan to further develop their business. They had intended on moving their company to the Silicon Valley, but decided to move into the Sandbox after receiving an Orange Tree Fund award of $8,000 at Emerging Talk.    

The third place prize of $5,000 was awarded to Rylaxing, founded by Ryan Dickerson, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. Rylaxing, another team in the Student Sandbox, creates ergonomic bolsters designed to maximize comfort and space efficiency in small spaces. Rylaxing was featured as one of the Coolest College Startups of 2010 by INC Magazine.

Grafighters, a finalist in the business plan competition, is an online fighting game that brings character sketches to life. The interactive gaming platform was created by Dave Chenell, a senior in the iSchool, and Eric Cleckner, a senior in the College of Visual and Performing Arts. Grafighters, which is also located at the Student Sandbox, has been named the Economic Champions of 2009 by the Chamber of Commerce and were the winners of the 2009 Sandbox Demo Day. Grafighters also received an Orange Tree Fund award of $12,000 and will stay in the Central New York area.

The Panasci Business Plan Competition is a campus-wide student business plan competition, hosted by the Falcone Center for Entrepreneurship in the Whitman School of Management, and is sponsored by Henry A. Panasci, founder of Fay’s Drugs.