The Kenneth A. Freirich Business Plan Competition is launching its fifth year with $65,000 in prizes and a determination to encourage
Skidmore students in every major to apply creative thought to the development of new
businesses, enterprises and non profit organizations.
A signature event at the College, the competition is open to all currently enrolled Skidmore students, regardless of year or major. Winners will be awarded cash prizes ranging from $1000 to $20,000.
More than 200 students have entered since 2010 and at least a dozen student-run businesses are up and running, including Summer Destinations, Rum Dogs, Wellfleet Sea Salt, and East Coast Lacrosse.
More than half the students who have competed since 2010 have majored in areas other than management and business. During that time, more than $150,000 in prize money and services has been awarded.
To foster entrepreneurship across all departments and maximize its impact, the competition has expanded this year to include prizes for Artistic and Social Entrepreneurship. Students who are committed to making the world a better place by creating new non-profit organizations that create and sustain social value are invited to submit business plans. So are students who aim to establish new artistic enterprises in such areas as film, dance, art and creative writing.
Students will indicate their 'intent to compete' by Friday, November 7, 2014. The first set of business plans will be due upon return to campus in late January.
These business plans will be presented during the spring semester to a panel of experts
made up of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, accountants, lawyers, executives, and
members of the Department of Management and Business.
These judges – who also will serve as mentors -- will narrow the submissions to a list of finalists who will then spend the next two months refining their plans with assistance from mentors. These experiences have proved to be life-changing. Final presentations will be made in April of 2015.
Mentors in last year’s competition included:
- Geoffrey Citron, founder and president, Nomia Inc.
- Andrew Eifler ‘07, chief of staff, AppNexus.
- Laurie J. Giddins ’82,senior vice president, The Partnership Fund for NYC.
- Christine Juneau ’82, principal, Christine Juneau, LLC.
- Jim Rossi ’82, managing partner, Saratoga Polo Association.
- Michael Stein ’89, founding partner, Pensam Capital LLC.
The competition gives students an opportunity to develop innovations and ideas that
address quality of life issues, sometimes on a broad scale and sometimes with a more
targeted focus. The process is an academic exercise involving creativity, problem-solving
ability, critical thinking skills and both a micro- and macro-perspective of the human
dilemma and the world around us.