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Key Meeting for Business Plan Competition Set for Oct. 9

October 4, 2013

Business Plan Competition Meeting Set for Oct. 9

October 4, 2013

Samuel Schultz ’13 knew exactly what his dream job was, but he figured it would take several years to make it happen—that is, until he won the $20,000 first prize at last year’s Third Annual Kenneth A. Freirich Business Plan Competition

Samuel Schultz '13
Samuel Schultz '13 arriving in Beijing

Five months later, the Asian studies and international affairs double major is living in Beijing and running his new business, Summer Destinations, which matches Chinese young people with residential summer camps in the United States. With a company that's growing every day, he is meeting with prospective families for the 2014 summer camp season. Several strategic partnerships with Chinese companies are on the table.

“I’m living my dream,” says Schultz. "All you have to do is take the first step and the support will follow. The Freirich Competition is a perfect example.”

Do you dream of starting your own business? Then what are you waiting for? Come to the Freirich Business Plan informational meeting Wednesday, October 9, at 7 p.m. in Davis Auditorium. The fourth annual competition is open to all currently enrolled Skidmore students, regardless of their year or major. More than half of those who have competed since 2010 have majored in areas other than management and business. During that timeframe, more than $100,000 in prize money and services has been awarded.

'Intent to Compete' forms must be filed by Friday, October 25. Students may submit individual plans or work in a team with other Skidmore students. For details, click here.

A first round of business plans will be due when students return to the campus in late January and presented shortly thereafter to a panel of experts made up of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, accountants, lawyers, executives, and faculty in the Department of Management and Business. The judges -- who will also serve as mentors -- will narrow the submissions to a list of finalists who will then spend the next six weeks refining their plans with assistance from mentors. Final presentations will be made in April to a panel of judges, and first-, second-, and third-place winners will be selected.

The opportunity to develop one’s plan in consultation with an experienced mentor is one key benefit of entering. Nancy Wekselbaum, a member of the Skidmore Class of 1973 and president of the Gracious Gourmet, based in Bridgewater, Conn., spent many hours helping Samuel Schultz develop his prize-winning plan.  “She gave me the confidence that I could make this happen,” he says.

Mentors in last year’s competition 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.

The main driver of the competition since its launch in 2010 has been Kenneth A. Freirich ‘90, a serial entrepreneur who is currently president of Health Monitor Network. When Freirich returned to Skidmore as the College's first Entrepreneur in Residence, he issued an "Entrepreneurship/Creativity Challenge" to the student body. Inspired by the impressive talent, creativity, and effort that went into the student presentations, he decided to take things to the next level: launching a business plan competition to foster entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity among Skidmore students.

Questions and submissions of Intent to Compete forms and final business plans should be directed to Paula Tancredi Penman, lecturer in management and business and director of this year's competition. 

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