Competitions

Here is how you prove yourself.

Working hard and taking risks are what entrepreneurship is all about. Competitions are a great way to practice these important skills.

Innovation Sprints

Imagine a hackathon. Now imagine a hackathon that doesn’t involve computing. Blackstone LaunchPad’s Innovation Sprints combine the exhilaration of a hackathon with an inclusive approach to innovation, focusing on the skills needed in the ideation stage of the design-thinking process. Innovation Sprints are an opportunity for students to work with Western New York businesses and develop their intrepreneurial skills.

The Henry A. Panasci Jr. Technology Entrepreneurship Competition

In the Henry A. Panasci Jr. Technology Entrepreneurship Competition, students from science, technology, business and other disciplines who have concepts in the early stages of development compete for a $25,000 prize and $27,000 in in-kind services.

The Panasci competition was created by the UB School of Management and the UB Technology Transfer office. Funded with a $1 million endowment from the late Henry A. Panasci Jr., the program brings UB students together to maximize their potential and create viable businesses in Western New York.

Erie Hack Water Data and Engineering Hackathon

Erie Hack is a competition and accelerator program that invites teams of developers, engineers, data experts and water experts to put their environmental and technological innovation to work in the name of healthy waterways. Teams are challenged to find creative solutions to issues in the Lake Erie Basin, focusing on the development of mobile apps, open data and new technology and solutions that demonstrate the value of clean water and its impact on the economies of the Great Lakes region.

Four winning teams and one high school team will compete for more than $100,000 in cash and accelerator services. Participants will collaborate with mentors and work with curated data from key organizations.

The Erie Hack is hosted and sponsored by the Cleveland Water Alliance in collaboration with DigitalC, GE, IBM and local funders from Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, Windsor and Toledo. 

Three Minute Thesis Competition

An 80,000-word thesis would take nine hours to present. We want you to do it in three minutes. The Graduate School and Blackstone LaunchPad are hosting the university's inaugural Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition, in which you are asked to effectively explain your research in three minutes in language tailored to a nonspecialist audience.

Participants will gain unique and invaluable professional development experience. Competition winners are awarded monetary prizes up to $1,000.

Global Entrepreneurship Week

Annually, for one week in November, Global Entrepreneurship Week inspires people to explore their potential as self-starters and innovators through local, national and global activities. In Western New York, activities ranging from large-scale competitions and events to intimate networking gatherings empower local entrepreneurs to network, connect with one another and advance their ideas.

Bulls Launch

This pitch competition provides undergraduates with the opportunity to pitch their idea for cash prizes. Students have 90 seconds to talk about their idea—without props, presentations or note cards. Five semifinalists will advance to the final round, where they will pitch their idea before a live audience.

WNY Student 2 Biz

The WNY Student 2 Biz Challenge is a collaboration of Western New York colleges and universities to promote entrepreneurship. Student teams compete in the following categories:

  • Information technology/software.
  • Social entrepreneurship/nonprofit.
  • Clean technology.
  • Advanced technology.
  • Products.
  • Services.

The WNY Student 2 Biz Challenge encourages graduate and undergraduate students to submit business plans for a student-born innovation that addresses a currently unmet need. Each group must have a faculty advisor. This year, the regional competition will be held on April 7. Winning teams from the regional event in are invited to pitch their venture to an external panel of investor judges at the New York Business Plan Competition in Albany on April 28.

With more than $500,000 in prizes and an incredible increase in entrepreneurial energy in Western New York, we are excited about the possibility of a UB team taking home a statewide award!