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Skidmore College

11th Annual Competition

Ideas Wanted

FRIDAY, april 9, 2021, 12 NOON-5:30 P.M.


Final Presentations Program

  • Welcome and Introduction
  • Cathy Hill, teaching professor of management and business and coordinator of the competition
  • Marc C. Conner, President
  • Kenneth A Freirich ’90

Special Thanks

To the generous donors who are underwriting the prizes:

  • Ken Freirich ’90
  • Rich Wartel ’91
  • Dan Allen ’90
  • Nancy Wekselbaum ’73
  • Gregg Smith ’92
  • Andrew Eifler ’07

Presentation Schedule

12 noon Welcome & introductions
12:20 p.m. Madison Colantonio | Cara Cara Custards
12:45 p.m. Haja Bah | Uman4Uman
1:10 p.m. Hana Sadoff & Cecily Szady| FAME
1:35 p.m. Dior Fall | BARE
2 p.m. Mamadou Sarr | SeSa Solutions: BeTech
2:20 p.m. Break
2:38 p.m. Panel Reconvenes
2:40 p.m. Arlene Silva | Hidro Verde
3:05 p.m. Novihelha Moleni | Novie
3:30 p.m. Dylan Telano | Voyce Me
3:55 p.m. Break
4 p.m. Judges' Deliberation
5 p.m. Awards Announced
5:30 p.m. Program Concludes

Business Overview

BARE   Read More

Dior Fall '22

BARE provides fast-drying and Halal-certified nail polish to consumers. 

CaraCara Custards   Read More

Maddy Colantonio '21

CaraCara Custards is a small batch, gourmet frozen custard company. Each pint is infused with spices and herbs with origins from around the world, sourced locally from farms and bakeries in the Hudson Valley.

FAME   Read More

Hana Sadoff '22, Cecily Szady '22

FAME — Financial Aid Made Easy  is a simple step-by-step solution for filling out the complicated Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the No. 1 form for securing college loans. 

Hidro Verde   Read More

Arlene Silva

Hidro Verde is a for-profit, Cabo Verdean-based company dedicated to implementing innovative and sustainable agricultural solutions to the drought-related challenges long faced by the archipelago of Cabo Verde. The company specializes in a hydroponic technique involving the production of pasture for cattle and other agricultural products without the use of soils, in which the seeds and the roots of plants receive a balanced solution of water and nutrients. 

NOVIE   Read More

Novilhelha Moleni '22

NOVIÉ is a beauty brand that focuses on utilizing African herbs and organic oils to make its products while empowering African women. 

SeSa Solutions: Be Tech   Read More

Mamadou Saliou Sarr '22

SeSa Solutions: Be Tech aims to provide individual and institutional farmers in the Senegalese animal husbandry industry with cloud-based tools to improve logistical efficiency. We aim to address the issue of livestock theft, which costs the Senegalese economy north of 2B CFA ($4 million USD) annually.  

Uman 4 Uman   Read More

Haja Bah '21

Uman4Uman is a social enterprise that focuses on strategically addressing the issue of period poverty and education among young girls and women in Sierra Leone by providing them with reusable, sustainable, healthy and affordable sanitary pads. 

VoyceMe   Read More

Dylan Telano '23

VoyceMe is the first and fastest-growing interactive reading and writing platform. We make it easy for authors of all levels to post their stories and engage with their audience while helping readers find and interact with every story. 

Peer Mentors

Emma Addington

Emma Addington is a senior from Madison, Wisconsin, double majoring in management and business and philosophy. Last summer she interned for financial technology startup Atticus, an app that focuses on simplifying the probate and estate settlement process. Emma worked to optimize search engine results for the marketing site, working closely with the CEO and founder to develop social media and informational content to maximize consumer outreach. For the past three years she has worked in the Alumni Relations and College Events office at Skidmore, helping to organize campus events and alumni outreach campaigns. This year she is also a consultant for the Skidmore-Saratoga Consulting Partnership and isworking with the nonprofit Saratoga Independent School.After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in marketing and development for a nonprofit foundation. 

Austin Rock

Colin Mahoney is a senior from Hanover, Massachusetts. He went to high school at Noble and Greenough School in Dedham, Ma. Colin is a business major and member of the men’s lacrosse team. His hobbies include playing guitar, surfing and spending time with his family and friends. 

Austin Rock
Austin Rook is a junior from Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, double majoring in management and business and economics. Austin is the team captain of the Skidmore men's ice hockey team and is co-president of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee. He is also a peer academic coach for the Management and Business Department and was a peer mentor this past fall. Last summer Austin interned in the Institutional Business Solutions department at Ayco, a Goldman Sachs company. 


Molly Dyson Schwery

Molly Dyson Schwery ’04  

Molly is a licensed social worker and life coach, philanthropist, commercial and residential real estate developer and entrepreneur. Molly serves as an executive and an active board member for Dyson Kissner-Moran, a private investment corporation, and acts as a Director of the Dyson Foundation, a nonprofit philanthropic organization that has supported myriad community organizations and social causes for decades in New York’s mid-Hudson Valley region. With an emphasis on supporting human services, education and health care, the Dyson Foundation seeks to improve the quality of life in the region, strengthen resources available to economically disadvantaged individuals and families and to strengthen the nonprofit sector. In Molly’s free time, she enjoys traveling and volunteering. Molly resides in New York with her husband, Benjamin, and sons, Samuel and Colin. 

Stephanie Hon '16

Stephanie Hon ’16 

Stephanie is an entrepreneur committed to building intuitive products that makes people’s lives easier and the earth better with her highly successful brand, cadence. With a mission to eliminate single-use travel-sized plastic across all categories, cadence proves making the sustainable choice is always the best choice. After three years of working two jobs, self-funding and diving deep into R&D, the team successfully launched in February 2020. Their first project was the first-ever magnetic, refillable and life-proof container made from recycled ocean bound plastic. Despite launching during a pandemic, their patented product had repeated direct-to-consumer sellouts and is loved by top-tier publications, such as The New York Times, The Oprah Magazine, Forbes, Cosmopolitan, NASDAQ and others. The company has best in class investors and continues on the path of making every aspect of our lives easier, better designed and more sustainable.  

Mireya Manigault

Mireya Manigault ’09 

Mireya is a multi-hyphenate that plays in both creative and analytical spaces. She is a serial entrepreneur and the CEO of Foundation LLC, a holistic corporate culture consultancy that focuses on the main pillars of building a sustainable strong culture: people, behavior, teams. Mireya is also a Master Coach and the developer of the AWALL coaching methodology for coaching the full spectrum of humanity without assumptions, limits or lenses. She has spent most of her career deploying enterprise-wide transformations for the world’s largest financial services firms. As an angel and startup advisory, Mireya is focused on helping underrepresented founders and products get to market, specifically BBI, LGBTQ+ and neuro- and physically divergent founders and products. She studied design and marketing at the Academy of Art University, public policy at Skidmore College and risk management at NYU. 

Mike Valentine

Mike Valentine  

Mike is a founder and president of Valentine Research, Inc., a privately-held company that designs, manufactures and sells the Valentine One Radar Locator. He is past president and a founder of Cincinnati Microwave, manufacturer of the Escort and Passport radar detectors. He was conferred a degree in electrical engineering by the University of Cincinnati.   

He is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, the Society of Automotive Engineers as well as the Association of Old Crows, an electronic warfare organization. He was also named by Car and Driver Magazine as “One of the Ten Best Friends of the Automobile”.   

Mike’s University of Cincinnati honors include the Order of the Black Blazers (athletics 2008), Distinguished Service Award from the Carl H. Lindner College of Business (2009), President’s Award for Excellence medal (2013) and Herman Schneider Distinguished Alumnus Award (College of Engineering 2014). 

Polly Vail Walsh

Polly Vail Walsh ‘76

Polly is founder of TurnStyle Partners, a consulting firm focused on helping startup companies and social impact non-profit organizations find their competitive advantage, develop new revenue streams, create business plans and build great teams. In addition to consulting, Polly currently mentors students at the University of Maryland and Montgomery College and entrepreneurs at the Green Incubator Accelerator.

Polly’s career began in the media industry, where she spent roughly 20 years at the New York Times in advertising sales, marketing and business development. Polly worked in the NYC headquarters for most of her tenure until she was named the first managing director for advertising at the Washington DC office. Polly was an “intrapreneur,” developing new revenue streams from sources that were unheard of at the time and launching new sections. She was the internal manager for the first digital classified advertising platform in the history of newspapers.

When the internet changed the landscape of print, Polly stepped out of the corporate world and leaned into her roots in entrepreneurship. She earned a degree in training and adult education at Georgetown University and began a new career in advising and mentoring small businesses, business owners, social impact businesses and profitable non-profits.

Polly’s philosophy — the thread that connects each chapter of her career — is that she is genuinely curious about, and interested in, her clients problems. Only after she fully assess the problem does she set out to create customized viable solutions.

Polly celebrates and commends the entrepreneurs in the Freirich Entrepreneurship Competition and the spirit of entrepreneurship that has perpetually guided Skidmore College.

Ashley Richardson George

Rich Wartel ’91  

Rich Wartel is CEO and Founder, Two Labs Pharma Services. With more than 175 product launches in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, Two Labs has a national reputation for product launch, life-cycle management, Market Intelligence, Market Access and Pricing Strategy. Rich serves as CEO of the Private Equity backed company and that completed two acquisitions in 2018 and currently employ over 120 people in the U.S. and Europe. His ultimate life goal is to continue to help people and make individual lives better. Rich and his wife are dedicated to improving the lives of others through charitable endeavors and have created the Two Labs Foundation (providing financial support to a variety of a nonprofit organizations). In addition, Rich sits on the board for Run the Race Center in Columbus, an after school ‘home-away-from-home’ resource center for almost 400 inner city kids. At a grand level, Two Labs enables him to help a broad group of patients, access pharma products more easily through his work with pharma manufacturers. In the instances where his eagerness to give exceeds the time he has to research causes or physically volunteer, he amplifies his effect on the community by empowering his employees to get involved. For this reason, he has created a perpetual culture of ‘pay it forward’ by giving every Two Labs employee $1,500 annually to support any charity they choose, or even starting new charities when they feel the need is there. Rich has a B.S. in Business from Skidmore College and a Master’s Degree in Accounting from George Mason University. 

Ken Freirich

Kenneth A. Freirich ’90 

Ken recently retired to focus on family, philanthropy and music.  

As a seasoned entrepreneur and executive, Ken has successfully started, built, operated and grown a variety of world-class organizations. For the past 16 years, he has helped transform Health Monitor Network into becoming the largest patient education-engagement company in the U.S. The company grew tenfold under Ken’s leadership. In May 2019, Ken led the organization through a transaction that brought a significant investment to the company, led by WestView Capital Partners to support and propel its dynamic growth. 

Prior to joining Health Monitor Network, he was CEO of TransLocal Health Corporation. Previously, he was president of InteliHealth, initially a joint venture between Aetna U.S. Healthcare and Johns Hopkins, a leading consumer and professional health information, technology and commerce provider. He was also the founder and publisher of The Collegian Magazine while a student at Skidmore. He completed an Executive MBA certificate program at Columbia University Graduate School of Business, through the Thomson Information Publishing Management Development program. 

Ken is a songwriter, drummer and philanthropist who combined his passions and started a record label in April 2019. Better World Records will release incredible music across many genres that will bring people together and have a positive impact on the world. The company has strong philanthropic beliefs and is committed to being the catalyst for using music to create change and to fund charitable projects across the globe. Better World Records will be a hub for charitable music initiatives and is pursuing partnerships with musicians, record labels and music companies for unique collaborations.  It’s first band Random Acts of Kindness released Healthcare Workers Rock!” last fall. The song was written by Ken to give healthcare workers the recognition they deserve for putting their lives on the line each and every day. Ken served as the executive producer and recruited P!nk Drummer Mark Schulman to play drums on the songGrammy Award-winning producer and mixer Scott Jacoby ’93 to produce and mix the song and Grammy Award winner Emily Lazar ’93 to master the single.  

Ken also plays drums in a rock band called MedROCK, a nonprofit he helped start six years ago and played drums with The Who in Los Angeles in October 2019 as part of a cancer charity benefit. He continues to be inspired by all of the students in the entrepreneurship competition.