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Skidmore College
The Kenneth A. Freirich Business Plan Competition

Success Stories

More than half of all students who have entered the competition have majored in areas other than management and business. Advised by Skidmore alumni who serve as mentors after participating in the semi-final round as judges, students have developed businesses and organizations with remarkable potential.

For example:


Riley Alsman ’13, Max Walker ’13, and Mark Morrison ’13 entered the 2013 Freirich Competition and are still going strong with their a new web tool, which enables technically unskilled communicators to quickly “draw a picture” of their data and post great-looking web pages that tell their organizations’ stories in visually compelling ways. In 2015, they joined the selective FlashStarts Startup Accelerator in Cleveland and have since expanded six full-time employees with headquarters in Saratoga Springs.

Leaf Pile Media

Winner of the 2014 competition’s top $20,000 prize, three English majors—Walter Barber ’13, Ian VanNest ’13 and Andrew Zimmerman ’13—raised $22,000 in a Kickstarter campaign and have made a distribution deal with Massachusetts-based Greenbrier Games Inc. They’re creating a new and captivating fictional universe called Champions of Hara, represented first in a board game and ultimately in a comic book and in a video game.

East Coast Lacrosse

Seth Berger ’14 was a high school lacrosse player when he saw the need for a better lacrosse short and decided he would launch his own business to make one. Taking third in both the 2013 and 2014 Freirich competitions, Berger continues to achieve double-digit growth for his sports apparel firm, finding new customers around the world.

Wellfleet Sea Salt

Hope Schwartz-Leeper ’13 and Zach Fagiano ’13 took second place in the 2012 competition with their eco-friendly approach to producing artisanal organic sea salts from the waters around Cape Cod. Their products are now available online and at nearly 60 retail outlets. They’re now developing blends and flavors using local ingredients as well as other original Cape Cod products.

Summer Destinations

Winner of the 2013 Freirich Competition, Sam Schultz ’14 launched Summer Destinations as a consulting service that matches Chinese youth between the ages 8 and 17 with summer camps in the United States. Schultz is now expanding into summer group travel.