Friday, April 20, 2012 - 5:04am

Two startups with ties to RIT received top honors Thursday at the 2012 Rochester Regional Business Plan Contest

Strong Arm Technologies, run by RIT fourth-year students Sean Petterson and Justin Hillery, won the top prize of $25,000.

The students developed a form-fitting garment that incorporates a system of load-bearing straps that allows workers to lift heavy objects with significantly less risk of injury. The system shifts the forces of lifting from the injury-prone hands, arms, neck, shoulders and lower back and distributes them evenly to stronger and more stable areas of the torso.

SalesCongo, a startup business in RIT's business incubator, Venture Creations, placed second in the competition. SalesCongo is a software company that partners with and improves the effectiveness of sales training and coaching.

"We have several RIT alumni on our team and the number one and number two finish by Strong Arm and us is testimony to RIT's role in innovation," says Ken Kaisen, CEO of SalesCongo.

The Rochester Regional Business Plan Contest encourages entrepreneurship and recognizes new, high-growth ventures in the Rochester area. Thirty-six companies entered the competition. Five finalists presented their business plans to an expert panel of judges Thursday morning. The winners were announced that same day during the Celebration of Entrepreneurship Luncheon.

"We are incredibly proud and thankful to all of those at RIT, especially the Center for Student Innovation, Venture Creations and Professor Carl Lundgren, who have given us invaluable help for this win," Strong Arm's Petterson says.

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