Local Students Compete in Business Competition for Prize
SARATOGA SPRINGS—In its fourth year, the Kenneth A. Freirich Business Plan Competition is bringing six business-minded student teams to the final round today, Friday, April 10, at Skidmore College to compete for a first place prize of $20,000, and second and third places of $10,000 and $5,000, respectfully.
This year is the first year that all participating teams have started their projects either before or during the initial stages of the competition.
“That’s why this year will be absolutely the most competitive,” said Paula Tancredi Penman, coordinator of this year’s competition. “They’ve actually all shown already that they have viable ideas and that they can carry them out.”
Thirteen teams met for the first round of the competition on February 7, and six moved on with the judges of the first round adopting a team and becoming mentors ahead of the final presentation.
“Primarily what they’re doing is trying to win money to put into their business,” Tancredi Penman said. “But the other piece of it is anybody who has a business idea, it really forces them to think it through. Then they can even see how committed they are to it.”
“They talk to the judges and get really valuable feedback,” she said. “Think about all their time spent with these mentors. What they’re really doing is starting their business.”
The competition was founded by the college’s first Skidmore College Entrepreneur in Residence, Kenneth Freirich. Freirich, a graduate of 1990, as a Skidmore student started his own publishing business and is now president of Health Monitor Network.
Last year, as he did this year, he contributed $20,000 toward the first prize. Other alumni have contributed to the pot of prize money as well.
The final presentations of the Fourth Annual Kenneth A. Freirich Business Plan Competition is Friday, April 11, at 2 p.m. in the Payne Presentation Room of the Tang Museum. Be advised: last year because of the excellent attendance, the event was standing-room only. Tancredi Penman said that she expects a similar turnout this year.
Meet the Teams
Leaf Pile Media
The Team: Walter Barber (2014), Ian Van Nest (2014) and Andrew Zimmermann (2014)
The Plan: These three created a an “original fictional universe” that they aim to turn into a protibable board game, graphic novel and app. Future plans would include the eventual expansion into online games and animation.
The Mentor: Christine Juneau (1982), principal of Christine Juneau, LLC.
Double Dee’s LLC
The Team: Stella Langat (2016)
The Plan: To register Double Dee’s LLC in Kenya as Langat said would be Kenya’s first undergarment production company dedicated to making reasonably priced intimate apparel for the modern African woman.
The Mentor: Laurie Giddins (1982), senior vice president of The Partnership Fund for NYC.
The Team: Ezra Levy (2015) and Marcella Jewel (2015)
The Plan: Web-based common ground that matches college students with businesses offering real-world, short-term projects that students can later showcase in their portfolios.
The Mentor: Geoffrey Citron, founder and president of Nomia Inc.
Munchi Heaven Agri
The Team: Adam Beek (2015)
The Plan: To grow an organic farming enterprise in Jamaica to produce celery, lettuce and other produce.
The Mentor: Jim Rossi (1982) managing partner of Saratoga Polo Association.
Rum Dog Inc.
The Team: Alexander Nassief (2016) and Zach Rohde (2014)
The Plan: After having taken second place last year, they are competing again with their business developing a luxury rum brand based in Dominica and a patent-pending aging method, during which the barrels of rum are submerged in the Caribbean Sea.
The Mentor: Andrew Eifler (2007), chief of staff at AppNexus.
East Coast Lacrosse
The Team: Seth Berger (2014)
The Plan: Berger was the third-place winner in last year’s competition. He is bringing to the table his East Coast Lacrosse apparel, which he had established in high school and last year generated sales upwards of $73, 000.
The Mentor: Michael Stein (1989), founding partner of Pensam Capital LLC.