Iona University Biology Major Wins $10,000 in New York Business Plan Competition

Lazar Paroški ’25 finished first in the Safety, Power and Mobility category of the 2023 New York Business Plan Competition

Student Success

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. & BRONXVILLE, N.Y. — Iona University sophomore Lazar Paroški ’25 won first place in the 2023 New York Business Plan Competition (NYBPC), an intercollegiate entrepreneurship contest, taking home $10,000 for his success in the Safety, Power and Mobility category. A biology major with a concentration in ecology and environmental science, Paroški came out on top for his invention Algea3, a multifunctional park bench that can effectively clean the air in urban environments with limited green space.

“Algea3 utilizes a device called an area bioreactor, which is 50 times more effective at cleaning carbon dioxide than a tree,” Paroški said. “I wanted to create an innovative way to clean carbon dioxide from the air, especially in developed areas that need it most. Thank you to the NYBPC team for this honor.”

Students were selected to participate in the NYBPC after competing at the semi-final competitions hosted by partner colleges and universities in all 10 regions of New York. Paroški qualified in the Mid-Hudson region and advanced to the statewide finals, which took place April 27, 2023.

Algea3 also won Paroški first place in the 2022 Iona Innovation Challenge, a student competition presented by the Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation that gives students the ability to present a solution that addresses a real-world problem. 

“Lazar's success is a source of great pride for the Hynes Institute, and we commend him for his skillful use of entrepreneurial resources to reach his goals,” said Lendynette Pacheco-Jorge, associate director of the Hynes Institute.

Founded in 1940, Iona University is a master's-granting private, Catholic, coeducational institution of learning in the tradition of the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers. Iona's 45-acre New Rochelle campus and 28-acre Bronxville campus are just 20 miles north of Midtown Manhattan. With a total enrollment of nearly 4,000 students and an alumni base of more than 50,000 around the world, Iona is a diverse community of learners and scholars dedicated to academic excellence and the values of justice, peace and service. Iona is highly accredited, offering undergraduate degrees in liberal arts, science and business administration, as well as Master of Arts, Master of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees and numerous advanced certificate programs. Iona students enjoy small class sizes, engaged professors and a wide array of academic programs across the School of Arts & Science; LaPenta School of Business; NewYork-Presbyterian Iona School of Health Sciences; and Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. Iona is widely recognized in prestigious rankings, including The Princeton Review’s 2024 national list of “The Best 389 Colleges” and The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse’s “2024 Best Colleges in America,” which ranked Iona at #66 in the nation overall and #8 in the nation among Catholic schools. Iona’s LaPenta School of Business is also accredited by AACSB International, a recognition awarded to just six percent of business schools worldwide. In addition, The Princeton Review recognized Iona’s on-campus MBA program as a “Best Business School for 2023.” Iona also offers a fully online MBA program for even greater flexibility. In July 2021, Iona announced the establishment of the NewYork-Presbyterian Iona School of Health Sciences, which is now principally located on Iona’s Bronxville campus in collaboration with NewYork-Presbyterian. Connecting to its Irish heritage, the University also recently announced it is expanding abroad with a new campus in County Mayo, Ireland. A school on the rise, Iona officially changed its status from College to University on July 1, 2022, reflecting the growth of its academic programs and the prestige of an Iona education.