New York Business Plan Competition – Richard Mariita

Richard Mariita knew from the start he wanted to make a positive difference in the world and that his experience at SUNY Poly would provide a launching pad to help realize these ambitions. 

As an MBA student, he came up with a business idea while participating in his College of Business Project Management class. In 2022, he decided to pitch his idea to a panel of judges as part of the Mohawk Valley Regional Semifinal competition, which is affiliated with the New York Business Plan Competition (NYBPC). Mariita credits the experience at the NYBPC with helping his business venture grow to where it is today.

“From the SUNY Poly classroom to the New York Business Plan Competition, it has been an inspiring journey to take action on what started as an idea and has since become a reality,” said Mariita. “I hope this encourages many students to participate in the NYBPC as it strongly benefits aspiring entrepreneurs.” 

Mariita is currently a SUNY Poly student ambassador for the NYBPC and founder of Maji Safi UV Project,  an organization with the goal of empowering tropical populations through sustainable access to clean drinking water using UVC LED technology. The organization has created partnerships with institutions such as Kisii University and Egerton University, both from Kenya, and Crystal IS, a UVC LED manufacturer located in Green Island, New York. Together with co-founders, Erick Omori and Duke Ateyh Oeba, the team is focused on utilizing drinking water expertise to enact positive change for life and living throughout the world.

“Maji Safi means “Clean Water” in Swahili and is truly the compass for our cause.”

“I had an amazing experience with the NYBPC, where I received valuable feedback and networking opportunities that helped sharpen my social entrepreneurship skills, said Mariita. This feedback and network accelerated the implementation of my venture in rural Kenya, which aims to ensure people have access to clean drinking water. In addition, the NYBPC experience was rewarding because it enlightened me on practical aspects I needed to consider to partner with institutions in support of this venture.”

Mariita wants current and future SUNY Poly students – to know that SUNY Poly and the NYBPC provide an unmatched chance to dream, build, and improve lives.

“As you move forward in your NYBPC journey, please know that all your experiences will matter, and you can change people’s lives. Encourage your friends and classmates to participate in this amazing opportunity, as it will lead to many successful ventures in the future!” SUNY Poly announced in February 2023 that it will host the New York Business Plan Competition’s Mohawk Valley regional semifinal once again, with Hartwick College and its new Innovation Center partnering to co-direct the in-person event on April 14. The competition promotes entrepreneurial opportunities for college students across the region who can pitch their business plans for the chance to win cash prizes, including $2,000, $1,000, and $500 for first, second, and third-place finishers, respectively, along with the opportunity to engage with mentors and judges from the business community. Learn more here.