Computer science students Shashank Sanjay and Michael Moskie, first place winners in the Hofstra-CPX Entrepreneurship Competition, show off their "check" for $50,000 with CPX CEO and founder Michael Seiman and Hofstra President Stuart Rabinowitz.
Computer Science student Alexander Rosenberg won second place, and a $25,000 prize, in the first annual Hofstra-CPX Entrepreneurship Competition. Rosenberg is pictured here with CPX founder and CEO Michael Seiman and Hofstra President Stuart Rabinowitz.
From Dorm Room to Board Room:
Hofstra-CPX Entrepreneurship Competition 2013
As a student at Hofstra, Michael Seiman went to class, studied for exams, hung out in the quad and made time for various campus activities. A typically full schedule for your average college student—except that Seiman was also hard at work on a multi-media concept that would quickly evolvento a multi-million dollar company.
That company, CPX Digital, has since grown into a Fortune 500 digital advertising enterprise with global reach, and a CEO - Seiman - who wants to pay forward his success to a new generation of Hofstra students. With that in mind, CPX sponsored an entrepreneurship challenge in which students competed for up to $75,000 awarded as a single prize, or split among several teams, depending on the quality of submissions.
“Growing up on Long Island and attending Hofstra University are both key elements that have helped make me what I am today,” Seiman said.“My own sense of entrepreneurship was honed by these experiences and it is truly my honor to be able to give back in this way and show students how they can be in control of their own destiny.”
Rising to the Challenge
Beginning in January 2013, student-innovators from the School of Engineering and Applied Science and other disciplines formed teams and submitted ideas for business plans. Student progress was evaluated and monitored over six months. The contest culminated in a presentation of final concepts and business plans to a select panel of judges in April. The judging committee consisted of Hofstra University faculty, administrators, and CPX officials.
“Entrepreneurship has always been the key to a thriving economy, leading to growing companies, employment and innovation.” said Dr. Simon Ben-Avi, Dean of College of Engineering and Applied Science and competition judge. “In today’s sputtering economic climate, this kind of creativity is more necessary now than ever. We are delighted to host this competition and to hone our students’ skills as innovators and future leaders.”
A total of 11 projects were presented for competition, including entries from over 30 local high school students. Based on market research, necessity was the mother of invention for these creative ventures, from revamping an existing product or concept in the consumer market to simplifying present technology used in daily business—the focus was on improving present-day efficiency and ingenuity.
Win or Lose: Defining Success
On April 25, Hofstra University announced the winners of the Hofstra-CPX Entrepreneurship Competition during an informal gathering at the Hofstra Hall, including remarks from Hofstra President Stuart Rabinowitz.
“It’s a privilege to be president while you’re students here at Hofstra,” President Rabinowitz told the competitors. “Your accomplishments are truly remarkable.”
Taking first place and a prize of $50,000 was a team of computer science majors, junior Shashank Sanjay and sophomore Michael Moskie, who developed a low-cost 3D printer that is able to create useful tools and small structures for immediate application, such as a screw for a door hinge. What’s more, the device ups its fascination factor given that it was assembled using materials created by another 3D printer that the duo built prior to the competition.
“I thought we had a good chance of winning but there were so many great submissions,” Sanjay said. “Managing school, activities, and the competition was tough but we made it happen because Moskie and I worked well as team—we’re excited about the future.”
Another computer science student, junior Alexander Rosenberg, won second place and $25,000 for his project “EMR (electronic medical record) Advantage”—an innovative system for creating better communication of health care records between providers. His work began shortly after taking a class on entrepreneurship at Hofstra, which helped him connect with a cardiologist at North Shore-LIJ Health System, who was building a streamlined electronic medical record system. The busy doctor and innovator was seeking a student in computer technology to help take his concept to the next level.
“The opportunity has provided me with more clarity about the future after college, it gave me direction,” said Rosenberg who hopes to bring his project to reality at North Shore-LIJ and hospitals worldwide. “What I’ve learned is that as a student, it’s important to make yourself visible and your passions known—you can’t let fear block you from trying.”
And, as all the teams learned, the real value of the competition came during the months of hard work, problem solving, teamwork and determination. The experience, win or lose, will serve them well, Ben-Avi said.
“Please don’t give up your creativity, your tenacity, and always be the person who’ll say, ‘I’ll do it’,” Dr. Ben Avi urged the competitors. “It’s a conviction that’s central to entrepreneurship.”