Winners of the 2017 Rochester Venture Challenge announced

We are excited to announce that Empire Medicinals, a Rochester startup company in the field of healthcare, is the winner of the 2017 Rochester Venture Challenge.

The announcement was made today at the 9th annual Celebration of Entrepreneurship Luncheon held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Rochester, attended by approximately 300 of the area’s business leaders, entrepreneurs and investors.

Earlier this morning, five finalists presented their executive business pitches to the panel of judges, which decided upon the winners and runners-up.

Empire Medicinals, the 1st place winner, receives a grand prize of $25,000 cash and one year of incubation services at High Tech Rochester.

The 2nd place winner – ThermApparel – receives $5,000 cash and nine months of incubation services at High Tech Rochester.

The 3rd place winner – Primary Book Club – receives $2,500 cash and six months of incubation services at High Tech Rochester.

“Rochester has a diverse and exciting entrepreneurial community, which gets stronger every day,” said James Senall, president of High Tech Rochester. “As we congratulate Empire Medicinals on winning first place in the competition, we have to say there are really no losers here. Our community is the big winner, as each of these companies has great potential to do themselves and Rochester proud. If innovation is the lifeblood of economic growth in the 21st century, then the Rochester region is poised for great things!”

The panel of judges based its decision on criteria that includes the probability of success of the business coupled with the size of its potential economic impact (the larger the impact, the better).

This year’s independent panel of judges included:

  • Dick Frederick, Board Member, UVANY and Founder of Easter NY Angels
  • Rami Katz, COO, Excell Partners
  • Tim Wilson, Chairman, Rochester Angel Network

The keynote speaker at the Celebration of Entrepreneurship Luncheon was Craig Dubitsky, friendly founder of Hello Products. He emphasized that entrepreneurs must live innovation and write their own narratives. We are confident that the smart, talented entrepreneurs we saw in this year’s competition will continue to write their own stories and passionately pursue innovation.

The Rochester Venture Challenge is a collaborative initiative aimed at stimulating more entrepreneurial activity in the nine-county Greater Rochester Region. The planning committee includes High Tech Rochester, Inc. (www.htr.org), Digital Rochester (www.digitalrochester.com), The Entrepreneurs Network  (www.ten-ny.org), Excell Partners (http://www.excellny.com), Rochester Institute of Technology   (www.rit.edu), Nazareth College School of Management (www.naz.edu) and the University of Rochester (www.rochester.edu)