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The Stony Brook Entrepreneur Challenge held each spring provides student entrepreneurs with an avenue to win a share of a $50,000 to make their business idea into a viable company. This year five student teams are moving their ideas closer to market and have received significant support from the University’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC).

Regional Stony Brook University competitors (left to right): Joseph Muller and Amna Haider of Roflex, Saeid Kader of Epistem, Bing Zhou of EZ Find and Bob Harrison, Small Business Development Center advisor.
Regional Stony Brook University competitors (left to right): Joseph Muller and Amna Haider of Roflex, Saeid Kader of Epistem, Bing Zhou of EZ Find and Bob Harrison, Small Business Development Center advisor.

At the Challenge, students pitch their ideas to a campus panel of experienced venture funders, entrepreneurs and business services professionals. Then they have the opportunity to move on to the Regional and State competitions for additional funding.

For 2018, the top three Stony Brook student awards went to:

Roflex ($12,000) — a start-up company developing a wearable device to improve the effectiveness of at-home rehabilitation

Epistem Interactive ($10,750) — an interactive platform for textbooks

EZ Find ($10,000) — a solution for fast object finding, indoor navigation, and store inventory management

These three teams went on to regional and state competitions and received additional funding by placing at the competitions, which increased their earnings that will be used to bring their business and product to market.

The two other winners were EngageWhiz, an ed-tech company that helps professors better engage students in the classroom, and Versitable, a stand-alone convenience table that provides unlimited position for its user. Each of these teams successfully pitched their ideas to a campus panel of venture funders via the Entrepreneur Challenge for seed money. All of the student teams are working with SBDC advisors on how to start their company and/or commercialize their product.

SBDC advisors have played a major role since the Challenge’s inception by providing free professional business advisement to the student teams in creating concise, professional and persuasively developed business plans that allow the students to excel in presenting their technology offerings.

“I had the privilege of working with and coaching three award-winning teams from the Stony Brook Entrepreneur Challenge,” said SBDC Business Advisor Bob Harrison. “Roflex, Epistem Interactive, and EZ Find advanced to the Regional Business Plan Competition at Bridgeworks in Long Beach with Roflex and Epistem Interactive taking first and second place, respectively, and they advanced to the State Business Plan Competition in Albany.  Roflex then went on to win the People’s Choice Award during the State Competition. Congratulations and all the best in developing their technology companies!”

The Challenge has awarded almost half a million dollars to Stony Brook student entrepreneurs since it began in 2005. This challenge is open to any participating Stony Brook University student; matriculating in any program at any level.

For more information about the Stony Brook Entrepreneur Challenge, visit the SBDC website at or contact Martha Stansbury at the SBDC:

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