UB MBA Graduate Wins $25,000 in Annual Entrepreneur Competition

By Jacqueline Ghosen

Release Date: March 5, 2004

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Michael Blumenson, a 1998 graduate of the University at Buffalo MBA program, won the $25,000 first-place prize in UB's fourth annual Panasci Entrepreneurial Competition, which awards seed money to UB students and recent alumni who devise and present the best plans for launch of a viable new business in Western New York.

Blumenson, a Williamsville resident, won for his plan for a company called Digital Surveillance Solutions (DSS), which will provide Web-based surveillance products and services. In his presentation, Blumenson highlighted some of the advantages that IP-surveillance products have over traditional analog security systems, including remote accessibility, image quality, and scalability.

DSS will initially serve two areas where the need for innovative security solutions is in high demand: the K-12 education market and the retail industry.

Blumenson now will advance to the Southwest Business Plan Competition at Rice University in Houston to compete for first, second and third prizes of $15,000, $10,000 and $5,000, respectively.

The winner of the Southwest Business Plan Competition will move to the internationally renowned MOOT CORP finals. Candidates there will compete for a $100,000 equity investment, which will be in the form of convertible debt and considered an early bridge loan.

Blumenson received his award at the competition's final round, where he and three other teams of finalists publicly presented their business plans to a panel of judges, which included representatives from Health Transaction Network, Jaeckle, Fleischmann & Mugel, M&T Investment Group, Strategic Investment & Holdings, Inc., Rand Capital Corp. and Seed Capital Partners.

The other finalists presented a variety of new venture ideas, including a business in which physical therapists would use physical therapy modalities to treat chronic wounds; a company which would provide low-cost "one-stop" long-term health, safety, housing and nutrition solutions for the elderly, and another for a firm that would provide high-quality Internet-based course evaluations for U.S. colleges and universities.

A total of 17 teams, composed of students and alumni from various academic units at UB, competed in this year's contest, which is organized by the UB Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership.

The competition is funded by a $1 million endowment from UB School of Pharmacy alumnus Henry A. Panasci Jr., chairman of the Cygnus Management Group of Syracuse and former CEO of Fays Inc. Panasci created the contest to encourage the entrepreneurial interests of UB students and alumni and to promote the development and launch of new businesses.