The Next Billion Dollar Idea is Here

Business Plan Competition Brings Entrepreneurs to Touro’s Graduate School of Business

April 10, 2024
A woman presenting her business project in front of a large monitor.
More than 16 teams from 30 universities presented their business plans as part of the New York Business Plan Competition (NYBPC) hosted by Touro University’s Graduate School of Business on March 28.

“Imagine: you apply makeup daily with the same applicator," she continued. "You’re accumulating more bacteria and more dead skin cells. If you have acne, there will be sebum on the applicator. If you have cold sores, you reapply viruses to your face. It becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. And if you’re sharing makeup brushes, then there is the issue of spreading infection.”

Ambarson had a solution: her product, BioGlam, a makeup applicator with antimicrobial properties that came with a small cotton container that could be washed after each use.

Ambarson was one of 30 presenters from over 16 universities participating in the New York Business Plan Competition (NYBPC), hosted by Touro University’s Graduate School of Business (GSB) at the school’s Cross River Campus at Three Times Square on March 28. The student-led presentations ranged from Ambarson’s anti-microbial makeup brush to a machine-learning algorithm for reviewing drug literature to a phone app meant to curtail food waste. Presenters were judged across a rubric that included the novelty of the idea to the strength of the market and possible competition. Winners of the regional competition will move forward to the final competition round where they will compete for up to $100,000 in cash prizes later this month.

The Center of the Business World and Academia

Dr. Gavin Goldstein, a faculty member of GSB and the school’s Business Creation and Entrepreneurship Coordinator, helped bring the conference to Touro’s flagship campus. “It’s the first time that the NYBPC has expanded across New York and our location in the heart of Times Square puts us at the center of the business world and academia,” Dr. Goldstein explained. “It makes sense that we should collaborate with schools across New York City and New York State.”

“It’s not just competing and winning money,” continued Dr. Goldstein. “It’s networking and a way for presenters to hone their skills and develop their business ideas and pitches. What better place is there to do it in than in New York City and Touro?”

Ambarson received top marks from the judges who included NYC business luminaries and faculty members and alumni of GSB. Jacob Abadi, Vice President of GSB’s Alumni’s Association and the founder of Ace of Wines, offered constructive criticism and then, on behalf of his two teenage daughters, asked more questions about the risks of bacterial infection from makeup applicators.

“Hosting the NYBPC is an opportunity to bring students to Touro and help prepare them to think outside the box, problem-solve, and ensure that their product can have an impact on society and the world,” said GSB Dean Mary Lo Re, Ph.D. “This is a life-changing experience for many of these participants. They’re receiving great advice that will carry them as their ideas come to fruition.”

Giving Participants a Feel for the Real Business World

In another room, Nikole Pochinki, a graduate student at Columbia University, prepared a presentation with her team for their project Bobolink AI, an AI-powered tutoring service. “I wanted the opportunity to practice our business plan and get feedback on it, as well as network with others,” she said.

During his presentation, Brooklyn College student Jonathan Colon spoke about the difficulty he had landing a job after graduation, despite stellar grades and recommendation letters. His struggle led him to develop Prometheus Investors an automated job recruitment platform.

Adeshawa Adefowokan, a student at Touro College of Pharmacy (TCOP), took the elevator down from her classes to present her idea for low-cost luxury athleisure. “It helped me narrow down what I wanted to focus on when I do eventually launch my clothing line,” she said about her presentation.

Melissa Rodriguez, an alumnus of GSB, director of talent acquisition at the Bridge Hotel Group, and a judge of the competition, said that she hoped everyone came out of the competition with something. “I want the participants to get a feel of the real world,” she said.

NYMC’s Nadia Ambarson and TCOP’s Michael Motto were among the twelve winners who were selected to move forward to the competition finals.