Incubator announces winners of Student Business Competition

(Left to right) Lori Lehnen, Tim O’Malley, Rae-Anne Clarke, Nate Aldrich and Michael Borello.

The Fredonia Technology Incubator conducted its fourth annual Student Business Competition and announced the winners selected by a panel of five independent judges. The program offers a $1,200 Grand Prize along with admittance into the incubator program.

The 2019 grand prize winner was Rae-Anne Clarke, with her business A Touch of Rae. Touch of Rae offers affordable/high quality hair, long lasting wigs, a self-esteem boost, protective style choices and a way to quickly change one’s appearance. The judges highlighted her established brand name, an in depth business plan and her overall knowledge of her companies goals and ideals.

Runner up, Tyler Walsh, was awarded six months of FTI’s services. Tyler’s business, Revenue record label, aims is to give power back to the artists by providing them with the proper tools and resources to make their passion a career.

The judges for this year’s competition included: Nate Aldrich, Community Economic Development Specialist at NCCF; Lori Lehnen, Entrepreneur in Residence and owner of L2 Engineering D.P.C; Tim O’Malley, Incubator Client and owner of MarsBux Technologies, LLC; Michael Borrello, Associate at Phillips Lytle LLP; and Dr. Susan McNamara, Associate Professor at State University of New York at Fredonia.

“It was a very close competition. Many students had great ideas, and we encourage everyone to keep working. Unfortunately, we could only select one Grand Prize Winner. We are proud to have chosen A Touch of Rae, a well-organized business run by a passionate entrepreneur that has already managed to turn a profit. We felt that the prize could most readily assist Rae in scaling her business and expanding her target market. We look forward to working with Rae and watching her business grow,” said judge Michael Borrello.

Students were judged on a variety of criteria including: customer identification, problem/solution identification, channel to market and revenue streams based off the business model canvas.

The Student Business Competition is designed to help Fredonia student entrepreneurs present business ideas, develop proposals and receive guidance from experienced business mentors to help launch their business. The winner of the competition will earned a paid entrepreneurial internship as well as an office at the Incubator for one year. As a client of the incubator, the winner has access to all services including administrative and business services, mentoring, networking, professional consulting, educational opportunities and access to capital as well as work ready space.

The Fredonia Technology Incubator promotes economic growth in Western New York by supporting entrepreneurship and the development of new, innovative companies into successful business ventures. The incubator provides administrative and business services, mentoring, networking, professional consulting, educational opportunities and access to capital and work ready space. The Incubator is part of Fredonia’s Division of Advancement, Engagement and Economic Development (AEED) facilitates and supports university-community collaborations, and oversees the university’s StartUp NY economic development program.


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