Friday, January 4, 2013 - 10:01am

Entrepreneurs across the Rochester Institute of Technology campus, get your business plans in order.

Registrations are being accepted for the 2013 Rochester Regional Business Plan Contest, which recognizes, rewards and promotes early-stage start-up companies. Last year, two startups with RIT connections, student-run Strong Arm Technologies and Venture Creations' SalesCongo, took first and second place, respectively, in the contest.

The contest winner receives a $25,000 cash prize and a variety of marketing and other business development services, plus the opportunity to go on to statewide competition, which Strong Arm also won last year.

The fee to enter the contest is $150 and includes participation for two company representatives in a series of preparation workshops slated to begin in February. The contest is open to early-stage businesses in the nine-county Finger Lakes region, as well as to students currently enrolled in a college or university in the region. Participants will have their business plans evaluated by an independent panel of judges who will choose five finalists. Those finalists will then present their plans in a pitch to investors at the Celebration of Entrepreneurship Luncheon, set for April 18. Contest winners will be announced following those presentations.

"The experience we gained in the Rochester Business Plan competition has taken our young start-up and thrown it into the center of the entrepreneurial ecosystem," said Sean Petterson of Strong Arm Technologies, who shared first place with his business partner, fellow fourth-year RIT student Justin Hillery. "Our connections and access to knowledge has delivered much more than the value of the competition money. We are now owners of something that will last a lifetime."

Deadline for registering for the contest is Jan. 31. Entrants can get more information and register at

RIT is among the gold sponsors of the contest, which is coordinated by High Tech Rochester.

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