Students hold up their award.

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.


Erie Hack

Our very own Lake Erie faces many challenges. In the Erie Hack, coders, developers, engineers, and water experts come together to propose solutions in order to solve the various challenges that Lake Erie faces. In collaboration with UB Sustainability and the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, high school students, college students, and professionals have the opportunity to combine their expertise and compete for $100,000 in prizes. 

Check back in Fall 2023!

Erie Hack is a biannual event. Check back in Fall 2023 for additional information.

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.

Aging Innovation Sprint

An opportunity for UB students and faculty to present ideas for developing prototypes that assist aging New Yorkers and their caregivers in completing daily activities. The time to create tomorrow's solutions is now.

We are looking for innovators to develop prototypes that will assist aging New Yorkers and their caregivers in completing activities of daily living (ADLs). ADLs include

  1. taking a bath or shower;
  2. getting dressed;
  3. using the bathroom;
  4. getting up from a chair,
  5. walking across a room; or eating a meal. 

This is an interdisciplinary event hosted by a coalition of UB programs led by Blackstone LaunchPad and Center for Successful Aging. Teams of students and faculty from all disciplines are encouraged to submit their application to compete in UB's finals: Aging Innovation Challenge, which is held each year in the fall semester.

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 total of $65,000 in startup funding and 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.

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 host the 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 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. Finalists pitch their idea before a live audience for a chance to win up to $1,500. 

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. 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 for a chance to win more than $500,000 in prizes.

World's Challenge Challenge

Solve a global issue! Form a team of three students from diverse academic backgrounds and choose an idea which relates to one of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. This event is hosted in collaboration with UB Sustainability and UB's Office of International Scholar Services. For more information regarding the challenge and specifically deadlines, please click on this link.