Two Syracuse University School of Information Studies (iSchool) student start-up companies, Helios and, earned top prizes in the New York Business Plan Competition held in Albany, N.Y. on April 28, 2011.

Helios, a medical device company developing ultraviolet technology to sterilize equipment, won the Grand Prize and took first place in the healthcare track, walking away with a total of $50,000., an e-commerce platform for new products, took first place in the non-profit category and earned $10,000.

“I am extremely proud of these two student companies,” said iSchool Dean Elizabeth D. Liddy. “They have put countless hours and energy into these projects and it is rewarding to watch these students successfully transform their ideas into reality.”

Helios was born out of “What’s The Big Idea”, an introductory entrepreneurial course that focuses on idea exploration and hands-on learning what constitutes a good business idea. Helios team members, Luis Romo G’12, Nick Garritano ’11, Stephanie Appleby ’11 and Tagbo Niepa G’12, are currently enrolled in “Idea2Startup” course, and will be part of the Syracuse Start-Up Sandbox, an idea incubator, this summer. is currently a Sandbox team. Founder, Jason Blanck G’11, was a winner in the iSchool’s Spring Break in Silicon Valley competition, funded by the iSchool Board of Advisors, which enabled him to visit Silicon Valley in California over spring break with a group of iSchool students and professors to learn about information technology startups.

The NYS competition featured 23 student-led teams from across the state competing for a total of $100,000. Each team submitted a business plan for student-born innovations designed for a need that is currently unmet. Syracuse University teams won two out of the four categories, plus the overall prize. The event was hosted by the University of Albany’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, UAlbany’s School of Business, the Lally School of Management and Technology at Rensselaer and Union Graduate College School of Management.