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Student wins regional business competition

Daemen College student Melissa Coombs of Wayland, N.Y., has won first place in the social entrepreneurship/nonprofit category in the WNY Student 2 Biz Challenge for her business proposal to launch her endeavor called the Veteran’s Physical Therapy Clinic.

Coombs, a physical therapy major, and other category winners in the WNY Student 2 Biz Challenge will now advance to the sixth annual New York Business Competition scheduled for April 24 in Albany.

Top teams from each of New York State’s 10 regions will compete in the 2015 statewide competition, where more than $500,000 in prizes will be awarded. The grand prize winner will receive $50,000 in cash and $50,000 worth of in-kind services.

The WNY Student 2 Biz Challenge, a collaborative effort of the Western New York Consortium of Higher Education’s 21 member institutions, promotes entrepreneurship between student teams competing in six categories. Undergraduate and graduate students from WNY’s colleges and universities must submit business plans around a student developed innovation that addresses an unmet need.

In Coombs’ business venture, Daemen physical therapy faculty and students would offer PT services to student veterans attending Daemen and other area colleges.

“This competition is a great way for our students to boost their skills and showcase their talents through the business projects that they developed,” said Cathaleen Curtis, director of experiential and creative learning, who oversaw Daemen’s participation in the competition. “We are immensely proud of Melissa for receiving a top award and applaud the efforts she put into successfully taking her project from the idea stage to a complete business plan.”

Additional Daemen students who took part in the regional competition were Alexander Gauss of Lancaster; Michelle Larimore of Horseheads; Jordan Rydzewski of Erie, Pa.; Samantha Salaza of West Falls; Alec Schumacher of Avoca; and Morgan Stefanik of Corning.

Congratulations to Niagara SBDC Certified Business Advisor and Daemen Professor Pauline Soeffing for her work with this excellent group of students.


Lynn Oswald, Director
Small Business
Development Center
3111 Saunders Settlement Rd.
Sanborn, New York 14132
Phone: 716-210-2515
Fax: 716-210-2512


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