Guilderland takes two of three top prizes in high-school startup contest

The Enterprise — Elizabeth Floyd Mair

A team of freshmen boys from Guilderland came in second for their idea, Smart Cabinet, to help families shop for groceries more efficiently. This team was made up of, from left, Burhan Brula, Arham Sial, Aidan Doyle, and Suhan Suresh.

GUILDERLAND — Students from eight area high schools competed in a recent startup contest that taught them to develop and pitch their business ideas.

Teams from Guilderland High School cinched both the second- and third-place prizes in Startup High School New York.

The final event on Feb. 28 came after about a month of workshops and mentoring sessions that led up to students presenting one-minute videos on their ideas to a panel of businesspeople.

In second place was Smart Cabinet, a kitchen cabinet that would alert the family’s shoppers when they are low on a particular product or when products are reaching their expiration dates. Freshmen Burhan Brula, Arham Sial, Aidan Doyle, and Suhan Suresh came up with the idea.

Coming in third was an idea conceived by two brothers — Sidharth Shamshabad, a junior, and Shashank Shamshabad, a freshman — for Public 911, a voice-recognition app that would make it possible in emergencies for people to speak into a telephone or other device and make a voice call to first responders and send location information, without actually dialing.

First place went to Rachel Hayes and Meghan Desmond of Shaker High School for their product, Smart Step, which would help students with special needs stay focused on learning by layering into their class time a teacher-approved, educationally oriented scavenger hunt.

All winners received a Rocketbook, said Robert Manasier of In Focus Brands, who helped organize the event. The first-place winners also got over $500 in gift certificates from local food and entertainment spots, as well as help from Manasier’s company in applying for a competition at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The second-place team received $300 in gift certificates, and the third-place team, $100 in similar prizes.


The Enterprise — Elizabeth Floyd Mair 
Brainy brothers: Guilderland students Shashank Shamshabad, left, and Sidharth Shamshabad get advice from Marcia Mitchell — a graduate student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute who plans to work in venture capital related to artificial intelligence — at a daylong workshop at the University at Albany on Jan. 27 where contestants in Startup High School New York developed their entrepreneurial ideas. 



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