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Show off: Local businesses to demonstrate products, compete for $200,000 prize

Victoria Shum | Contributing Illustrator

Five businesses will demonstrate their products to a panel of judges next week for a chance to win $200,000 in Startup Labs Syracuse’s business competition.

The five finalists will participate in Startup Labs Syracuse’s Demo Day on Feb. 7 at the Syracuse Trust Building on South Salina Street to wrap up a 22-day business-building program, said Mitchell Patterson, managing director for the Emerging Business Portfolio at CenterState CEO.

The five businesses included in the competition are Full Circle Feed, a company that takes nutritionally dense leftovers from dining halls and processes them into dog treats; SnagMobile LLC, an application that allows users to order and pay for food and drinks at live events from their mobile devices; Pretty Padded Room, an online therapy outlet for women; Rosie, an app that predicts when users need household items and orders them at the lowest price; and Yorango, Inc., an alternative to existing classified advertising websites, according to the Syracuse Technology Garden’s website.

The five businesses were selected out of 117 total applicants and then chosen out of the competition’s 30 semi-finalists, Patterson said.

“We sat down one day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and listened to pitches from 30 different companies and narrowed our group down to five,” Patterson said.

He said the five businesses were chosen because of their advanced business plans.

“When you’re handing a company that much money, you don’t want just an idea for a business plan,” Patterson said. “We wanted companies near the tipping point that we could give a push to in under 30 days.”

The program gives the businesses the opportunity to grow, and provides them with the connections they need, Patterson said.

The five finalists worked daily with more than 50 mentors and advisers during the 22-day program at The Tech Garden, a business incubator that’s an affiliate of CenterState CEO, Patterson said.

The businesses were provided with mentors, service providers, free accounting and assistance with their marketing campaign, Patterson said.

“We sat down and asked them what connections they needed, who would be helpful to their business,” Patterson said. “Two of the businesses wanted access to grocery stores, so we connected them to supermarkets like Tops and P&C.”

In addition, each of the five finalists received a $30,000 initial investment and office space at The Tech Garden for six months, Patterson said.

On Demo Day, the teams will compete to win $150,000 and the Market Ready Award, presented by Eric Mower and Associates, a marketing communications agency in Syracuse. The agency will provide a suite of marketing and branding services valued at $50,000, according to The Tech Garden’s website.

The competition will not only benefit the businesses in the competition, it is also beneficial for the business community in Central New York, Patterson said.

“The competition kind of puts Upstate companies on a pedestal,” he said. “It’s a great way for the older business folks in the area to pass on their wisdom to the younger people by acting as their mentors.”

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