MASH Attends Startup High School Event Presented by Innovate 518

Yesterday, Innovate 518 held the first Startup High School event at the University at Albany's Campus Center. Innovate 518 is a platform that aims to drive commercialization within the New York State Capital Region by leading the development of a supportive innovation infrastructure and connecting new entrepreneurs to the startup community. In attendance to congratulate and encourage these young competitors was the University's President, Dr. Rodriguez, along with the Chancellor, Nancy L Zimpher.

President Rodriguez speaking passionately to the students.

The event was an opportunity for high school startup business students to compete to be the best startup, as evaluated by a panel of judges. Bob Manasier, Entrepreneur In Residence of Innovate 518 and UAlbany's Innovation center, said, "It's a great way of bringing them into a setting that allows them to practice their public speaking, as well as meet fellow business owners and major players in the field."

The participants posing for a picture together.

Joan McGrath, a Guilderland High School business teacher and Career Internship Coordinator, played a key role in putting this event together. "From a teacher's perspective," he said, "it's great to see these kids come together in an authentic learning situation and working towards achieving something." The winners of the evening, Rachel Hayes and Meghan Desmond, said they were excited to be apart of High School StartUp New York because it gave them an opportunity to get an inside look into the business world and improve upon their company, Smart Step.

Rachel Hayes (left) and Meghan Desmond (right) with their prizes after winning StartUp High School New York.

SmartStep is an interactive interface geared towards special education classrooms that creates QR codes with questions embedded in them. Upon scanning the codes through the scavenger hunt feature, students will be prompted with a question, and if they get it right they will receive a reward. Its goal is to better physically and mentally engage students in special education classrooms.

MASH had a chance to provide the girls with prizes to our vendors as a sponsor of the event. Co-Founder, Tiran Koren,  had the chance to give all participants a few tips about the startup life and what they can expect when starting their own business.

"Love what you do, learn from your mistakes, and never give up!" Tiran said at last night's event

We were happy to attend this Innovate 518 event and support local startup businesses. If you are a local company interested in collaborating with us, email us at