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Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES Holds Annual Lindy Business Competition

Written by Chris Kulle, Public Information Specialist (CNYRIC)

On May 8, Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES held its annual Lindy Business Plan Competition. This, the ninth year of the competition, saw nine students from seven prospective businesses make their pitch to the judges.

Named after the late Lindy Eiben – whose family has long been a tremendous supporter of BOCES – the Lindy Business Plan Competition tasks students with taking the initial steps of creating and owning a small business, from conceptualizing the services offered (and company name/branding), to outlining a business plan to pitch to prospective lenders. For the purposes of the competition, the judges panel filled the "lender" role, asking the budding entrepreneurs questions regarding loan amounts, advertising, equipment purchase, compensation, long-term business growth, and more.

This year’s panel of judges included:

judges panel

Thomas Ackerly (Vice President, Cayuga Lake National Bank)
Professor William Prosser (Division Chair, Cayuga Community College)
Maureen Riester (Business Development Specialist, Cayuga Economic Development Agency)
Jeff Weigand (General Manager, The Citizen)
Cheryl Welles (Community Relations Director, Empower Credit Union)  

The students/businesses from this year’s event:
cashmere addison
Lola Hair Care
Cashmere Addison (Auburn)
Emerging Careers in Commerce
justin ames
Ames’s Marina and Repair
Justin Ames (Auburn)
Outdoor Power Equipment 
mackenzie chase
Mack’s Alpaca Shack
Mackenzie Chase (Port Byron)
Plant, Animal, and Life Sciences 
graffiti studios
Graffiti Studios
Jenna Fields (Skaneateles)
Evan Rivera (Cato-Meridian)
Graphic Design and New Media
m&b concrete
M&B Concrete
Zachary McDonald (Skaneateles)
Jack Benedict (Weedsport)
Heavy Equipment Repair and Operation (HERO)
big c's roller rink
Big C’s
Collin Van Doren (Southern Cayuga)
Emerging Careers in Commerce
tyler bassett
Willow Ridge Dairy
Tyler Bassett (Southern Cayuga)
Heavy Equipment Repair and Operation (HERO)

A remarkable amount of effort went into these presentations. Many of the students included detailed financial plans, justifying their requested loan amounts (including interest) while also breaking their budget down into line items, and disclosing the profit margins on particular items they hope to sell. Many also included extensive demographic research, highlighting the age, gender, and income levels of their target clientele. Others still took location into careful consideration, highlighting optimal access to major highways, public transportation routes, and customer parking during their presentations.
exhibit 1 exhibit 2
Graffiti Studios Exhibit Big C's Exhibit

Some presenters reflected on their own culture and upbringing, infusing those parts of their character into the presentation (and business itself). Others, like the titular “Big C” himself (Collin Van Doren), longed for a time that has seemingly passed, proposing a renovated roller rink that he feels could become a true community hot spot if he’s able to execute his vision on his terms. Tyler Bassett confidently defended his decision to purchase older farm equipment in his financial plan, stating that older machines were often “just as reliable” as newer ones, and noting that he’s gained the skills through his HERO classes to repair the engines himself, thus lowering costs on two different fronts.
The event included more than just business presentations, however, as students were asked to do some real-time marketing. Students from the Plant, Animal, and Life Sciences program made unique flavors of ice cream, complete with marketing (in the form of posters at their respective booths) and advertising (the creators of said flavors gave the audience a real-time “radio pitch” to entice attendees to visit their booth). Attendees then used their supplied ice cream tickets to cash in at three of the booths, effectively casting their vote for the most effective dessert pitch. By the time the tickets were tallied, Mackenzie Chase (of Mack’s Alpaca Shack fame) and Jessica Snodgrass were voted “best ice cream” by those in attendance.
ice cream stand 1 ice cream stand 2
ice cream marketing ice cream contest winner mackenzie chase

As for the Lindy Business Plan Competition itself, all seven prospective businesses gave outstanding, detailed presentations, and did an admirable job of answering the judges’ questions, in real time, in a conference room packed with onlookers. After the judges conferred, the winners of the competition were named:
First place: Willow Ridge Dairy (Tyler Bassett)
Second Place: M&B Concrete (Zachary McDonald and Jack Benedict)
Third Place: Big C’s (Collin Van Doren)
Fourth Place: Lola Hair Care (Cashmere Addison)
Congratulations to all the students who competed, and did an amazing job of putting together a genuine business plan from conception to presentation. 

Students and judges





Brian K. Hartwell, Ed.D.
District Superintendent of Schools

1879 West Genesee Street Rd.
Auburn, NY 13021
Phone: (315) 253-0361

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