STONY BROOK, NY, August 11, 2010 – Financial prizes totaling $50,000 have been awarded to two Stony Brook University student teams that submitted the most promising and persuasively developed business ideas in the 2010 "Dare to Risk Entrepreneurship" (DARE) competition. Students working together as "Freedom TeleWorkers, Inc.," took the first place award of $30,000 for their business concept – a remote telemarketing staffing solution. Second place, and $20,000 went to "Travel Portabout," an online retail business selling travel size toiletries and related items packaged to meet Transportation Security Administration regulations, shipped to home, office or destination.
Bridging their academic and business goals, the students participating in the DARE competition are guided through the process by Certified Business Advisors of the New York State Small Business Development Center at Stony Brook. Freedom Teleworkers worked with Ronni Rosen, a Senior Business Advisor. SBDC Adviser Susan Nastro worked with Selina Griffith, Travel Portabout's CEO.
"Stony Brook attracts thousands of talented and ambitious students every year in engineering and other disciplines; DARE enables them to follow their entrepreneurial dreams and creates jobs on Long Island," says Dr. Yacov Shamash, Vice President for Economic Development and Dean of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
Freedom TeleWorkers, Inc. was conceived by Raam Yarden, an Israeli living Brooklyn who is completing his Masters in Computer Engineering at Stony Brook; A.C. Cohen, who graduated from Empire State College and now lives in Nassau County; and, Jennifer Gross, a NYC resident originally from Florida, who is currently in a Masters program at George Washington University.
Funded by the Brookhaven Industrial Development Agency, Suffolk County Industrial Development Agency and Long Island Angel Network, and now in its sixth year, the DARE competition was created by Dr. Ann-Marie Scheidt, Director of Economic Development at Stony Brook University, with initial support from the offices of the Vice Presidents for Research and Economic Development.
"The program doesn't 'teach' entrepreneurship; we help students discover their 'inner entrepreneur' if it's there and give them some of the tools they'll need to succeed, including a modest upfront investment that they don't have to pay back," said Scheidt. "Economic development is a key research university mission – as the growth of Silicon Valley around Stanford and Berkeley and Route 128 around MIT and Harvard demonstrate – and DARE energizes Stony Brook students who are interested in starting a business."
The web-based Freedom TeleWorkers, Inc. will invest the award to help build the infrastructure and market their new technology, which they say is poised to revamp the way organizations interview, hire and monitor remote workers as well as the way organizations communicate with their customers.
"We see a new employment paradigm taking hold, with more employed workers working from their homes" said Ms. Gross, CEO of Freedom TeleWorkers, Inc. "With the cost savings to employers, and the increased satisfaction of home-based workers, we see a win-win scenario with this new technology."
The New York State Small Business Development Centers are funded by the State University of New York and the U.S. Small Business Administration. Most of the two dozen SBDC offices around the state are located on college campuses.
For more information on the DARE competition or the services of the Small Business Development Center at Stony Brook University, please contact Kathleen Derryberry at (631) 632-9084.