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Mid-Hudson Business Plan Competition

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2024 Judges and Mentors Information


12th Annual Mid-Hudson Regional Business Plan Competition
April 5, 2024

For additional information, contact Cynthia Worrad,


See below for more information about judges' and mentors' responsibilities. 

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The Mid-Hudson Regional Business Plan Competition prides itself on innovation and technical merit. Both of these values are hallmarks of the main organizing universities, and we strive to integrate them into every aspect of the competition. To do so, we have established a transparent judging process with no conflicts of interest between our judges and the teams that they are evaluating.  A vital aspect of the business plan competition is the support system supplied to student teams by academic advisors and entrepreneurial mentors throughout the competition. Our main goal is to foster and encourage entrepreneurial activity in our students to promote new business ventures. The competition fosters and strengthens connections between student entrepreneurs and area business leaders to promote new business ventures.

All of our judging panels and mentors are composed of a mix of private and public investors, business leaders, and advisors – all of whom have years of experience investing or advising in their respective industries.


The distinguished panels of judges will evaluate student team business plans and provide valuable perspectives and insight on succeeding in building small businesses. 

Judges who have mentored or otherwise engaged with any competing teams are not eligible to participate on any level of the competition - even across tracks or regions.

Judges may serve as either regional judges or state judges (not both) and will be required to complete a unified application to judge for either regionals or state finals. Judges should avoid interaction with all competitors until the event is completed. 

Judging for the 2024 competition included:

Judges were asked to review the business plan submissions a couple days prior to the April 5, 2024, Mid-Hudson Regional Business Plan Competition Day. This preview allowed judges to become familiar with the team's product/service idea and develop some questions to ask the teams during the live event.

Judges were asked to evaluate live pitch presentations and participate in Q&A sessions on the day of the Mid-Hudson Regional Business Plan Competition Event on April 5, 2024. Live pitches included a Q&A session.

Usual timeframe for  Judges commitment: Apply in January. End of March-April: Judges prep session, Pre-competition review, Judging day of competition

Virtual Judging opportunities are available for the first-round of the NY state finals, and may be available for the regional competition. 

Please check back frequently for updates and potential changes.


Mentors will provide valuable advice for overcoming hurdles that many small businesses face during the initial years and teach students how to navigate the process of beginning and planning a small business.

Mentors are asked to:
Connect with student team members through video conference meetings  
Listen to a student team’s business plan idea(s) and initial pitch
Provide constructive feedback on business plan and pitch
Review student team’s submissions and provide advice for improvement
Provide guidance for live pitch and live question and answer session
Attend student team’s live pitch and Q&A session with judges, at MHRBPC and NYBPC (if move on to state finals)
Provide post-competition advice and suggestions for next steps for development of their business plan
Usual timeframe for mentoring commitment - Apply starting in January.  February - April depending on student team requests, but may start sooner.


Thank you to the 2024 Mid-Hudson Regional Business Plan Competition Judges and Mentors

Travis Biro, Senior Product Manager  Ensono
Vitaliy Bobkov, CEO – Hearthstone Care
Keith Brokaw, Vice President – TD Bank
Doris Conti, Vice President – IBM
Tim Dean, Chairperson of Board of Directors – Marshall & Sterling Enterprises Inc.
Phyllis Fein, Professor/Academic Advisor – SUNY Westchester Community College
Ronald Ferris, Director of Business Development – Mid-Hudson Works
Jean-Claude Fouere, Principal – NE Technology
Gregory Garville, President – Garville Corp.
Amarildo Gjondrekaj, CEO/Founder – Adro
Richard (Rick) Lewandowski, Entrepreneur in Residence – Columbia Technology Venture
Cynthia Marsh-Croll, Women’s Business Center Director – Women’s Enterprise Development Center
Bill Midgley, Chairperson/Certified Mentor – Mid-Hudson Valley SCORE Chapter
Wayne Miller, President – Future Tools & Technology Inc.
Randi Picarello, Executive Director/Owner – Business Council of Greater Montgomery/ETB Solutions
Dr. Bruce Pinker, President – Progressive Foot Care
Renee Richard, Director of Business Retention & Expansion – Think Dutchess Alliance for Business
Michelle Rider, Manager-Member, Catania, Mahon, & Rider, PLLC
Lena Rizkallah, Financial Advisor – Conte Wealth
Jared Roth, Account Executive – Sailpoint
Rose Rubin, Executive Coach/Mentor – Ulster SCORE
Sara Schmitt, COO - Adro
David Schwartz, President – Beacon Court Associates
Hugh Schwartz, CEO – Hudson Valley Center for Innovation
Deborah Smook, Managing Director/Owner – TurboFil Packaging Machines, LLC
Naresh Thaneeru, Lead Data Engineer (AI/ML), Premera Blue Cross
Justin Wingenroth, Owner/Director – The Dance Conservatory

Judges are asked to evaluate companies according to the following criteria:

  • Market Opportunity: Clear market need and a plan to take advantage of the need.
  • Competitive Advantage: The product or service is something unique that has a protectable competitive advantage in the proposed market.
  • Management Capability: The team has the skills and experience to develop this venture and address the associated risks.
  • Financial Understanding: The team has a solid understanding of the financial requirements of the venture.
  • Roadmap/Growth Strategy: The team has engaged in short and long-term planning and has considered strategies for growth.
  •  Sustainable Business Model: The team understands and can communicate their core business model. They are most likely to develop a sustainable venture.
  • Judges will be asked to focus their deliberations around the sustainable viability of each venture.

For more information contact Cynthia Worrad at or Roberta Diggins at

NYSBPC 2024 Rulebook




Picture of NYBPC Rulebook