And the winner is ...

Freirich Competition winner is bound for China

April 13, 2012

Samuel Schultz, a senior majoring in Asian studies and international affairs, will soon head to China to develop his new business, thanks to the $20,000 first prize he won Friday in the Third Annual Kenneth A. Freirich Business Plan Competition.

Samuel Schultz '13 and Nancy Wekselbaum '73
Samuel Schultz with Nancy
Wekselbaum

Schultz impressed the seven judges with his plan to establish a placement service – called Summer Destinations — that matches Chinese young people with residential summer camps in the United States. The son of Val and Stuart Schultz of Saratoga Springs (Val is a nurse practitioner in Health Services here at the College), Schultz speaks Mandarin and has spent two years in China thanks to several study-abroad experiences.

"The consensus of the judges was that his business can scale beyond summer camps," said Freirich, the 1990 Skidmore graduate who launched the competition three years ago and donated the $20,000 first prize. "He can be a trusted, reliable source and networker for Chinese families who are seeking all kinds of different services in the U.S., and I think that's the next step for him."

A second prize of $10,000 in cash and $4,000 in legal services donated by the New York law firm Phillips Nizer went to first-year students Alexander Nassief and Brianna Barros for Rum Dogs Inc., an enterprise that has developed a proprietary method for aging rum in barrels submerged in the Caribbean Sea.

A third prize of $5,000 in cash and $2,000 in accounting services donated by the Saratoga Springs accounting firm Flynn, Walk, Diggin was awarded to junior management and business major Seth Berger for his plan to develop the firm he established in 2010, East Coast Lacrosse, into a leader in custom athletic apparel. This was the second year Berger presented a plan in the competition.

Of the 14 teams that presented plans in the competition’s first round in February, six were invited to refine their plans with assistance from alumni and parent mentors and to present them again at Friday’s finals, held at the college’s Tang Museum. Schultz said his mentor, Nancy Wekselbaum, a member of the Skidmore Class of 1973 and president of the Gracious Gourmet, based in Bridgewater, Conn., spent many hours helping him sharpen his plan.

“She gave me the confidence that I could make this happen,” he said.

The other three finalists were awarded cash prizes of $1,000. They are:

  • Jasmyn Elise Story, a sophomore anthropology major who aims to change the way casting agents hire extras through a new smartphone app;
  • Kelsey Yam, a senior management and business major who wants to establish a satellite program of Soccer Without Borders in western Uganda;
  • Magdalen Andreoni, a senior studio arts major whose plan is to establish The Cookie Jar, “the only specialty cookie mobile shop in Chicago," she says. 

The students were given seven minutes to present their plans, followed by questions from the judges, which included Freirich, president of Health Monitor Network.

“The competition gives students the opportunity to discover a part of themselves that otherwise they might never find,” said Roy Rotheim, professor of economics and director of the competition for the last three years. “This is a distinctly Skidmore event that enables students to turn creative thought into creative action.”

Rotheim and Freirich praised the contributions of both time and money made to the competition by mentors and judges. In addition to Wekselbaum, mentors included:

  • Rich Flaherty, president and CEO, Cove Risk Services, LLC;
  • Jody Klein, president, ABKCO Records;
  • Jim Rossi ‘82, managing partner, Saratoga Polo Association, and chief marketing officer, United States Polo Association;
  • Mary Vail '80, president and chief designer, Joyelles Jewelers;
  • Catherine Hill, F. William Harder Professor of Business Administration, Skidmore College.

In addition to Freirich, judges in the final round included: 

  • Alvaro De Molina P’15, former CFO, Bank of America Corp., and CEO, GMAC LLC;
  • Susan Magrino Dunning ’83, President, Susan Magrino Agency;
  • Brian Kelley ’00, Internet Entrepreneur and Technologist; Founder; Reputation.com;
  • Nick MacShane ’91, President, Progress Partners;
  • Rosendo Parra P’13, Managing Director, Daylight Partners; Owner, Millennium Farms;
  • Ellen Sherman ’68, Producer, Dateline NBC;
  • Michael Stein ’89, Founding Partner, Pensam Capital LLC.

Tags: Freirich Competition, Ken Freirich, Roy Rotheim, entrepreneurship
A A A