Skip to Main Content
Skidmore College

Six student teams qualify for business plan competition finals

February 10, 2014

Six student teams qualify for business plan finals

February 10, 2014


Six businesses represented by 11 Skidmore College students were selected Friday, Feb. 7 by a panel of distinguished judges to compete in the finals of the annual Kenneth A. Freirich Business Plan Competition.

Affiliated with both start-ups and existing student businesses, the students will compete for a first prize of $20,000 and second and third prizes of $10,000 and $5,000.

More than 170 Skidmore students and 100 companies have participated in the competition, which is now in its fourth year.

Ken Freirich
Kenneth Freirich '90 established the competition, now
its fourth year.

“Each year, the quality of the plans and the presentations just keeps improving,” said Kenneth Freirich '90, founder of the competition. As a Skidmore student, he started his own publishing business as a student and is now president of Health Monitor Network.

“It’s deeply rewarding to see so many students following their passions and developing these businesses with such talent and creativity. I continue to get inspired by them,” he added.

As he did last year, Freirich contributed $20,000 toward the first prize. Other alumni have contributed towards the prize money as well.

This year’s competition is being coordinated by Paula Tancredi, lecturer in management and business at Skidmore.

The student finalists are:

  • Open Campus
    Marcella Jewell '15 and Ezra Levy '15, founders of
    Open Campus,
    are among 11 students who qualified to
    compete in the Freirich
    Competition finals in April.
    Ezra Levy '15 and Marcella Jewell '15. They’ve launched a Web-based enterprise, Open Campus,that matches college students with businesses offering real-world projects requiring skills the students showcase in portfolios on the site.

  • Walter Barber '14, Ian VanNest '14, and Andrew Zimmermann '14. Adopting the name Leaf Pile Media, they have created an “original fictional universe” which they aim to turn into a profitable board game, graphic novel, and app, eventually expanding into online games and animation.

  • Stella Langat '16. She is registering Double Dee’s LLC in Kenya as what she describes as the nation’s first undergarment production company, dedicated to making reasonably cost intimate apparel for the modern African woman.

  • Adam Beek '15. Launching Munchi Heaven Agri, he aims to develop an organic farming enterprise in Jamaica growing celery, lettuce and other products and hoping to make an impact on his local community.

  • Alexander Nassief '16, a sophomore, and Rachel Dance '14 and Zach Rohde '14. Taking second place and $10,000 in last year’s Freirich Competition, they continue to grow Rum Dog Inc., developing a luxury rum brand based in Dominica and a patent-pending, proprietary aging method in which barrels or rum are submerged in the Caribbean Sea.

  • Seth Berger '14. Taking third place and $5000 in last year’s Freirich Competition, Berger continues to develop East Coast Lacrosse, a maker of lacrosse apparel that last year generated sales of over $73,000.

Eleven student teams competed. The final round of the competition – among the most successful hosted by a liberal arts college -- will be held Friday, April 11, at 2 p.m. at the Tang Museum.

To prepare for the finals, the students will tap the expertise of entrepreneurs and business executives who served as judges and are now paired with the students as mentors. This has been a highlight of the competition for both students and judges.

They are:

  • Geoffrey Citron, founder and president, Nomia Inc. He will counsel Open Campus.

  • Andrew Eifler ‘07, chief of staff, AppNexus. He will counsel Rum Dog.

  • Laurie J. Giddins ’82,senior vice president, The Partnership Fund for NYC. She will counsel Double Dee’s LLC.

  • Christine Juneau ’82, principal, Christine Juneau, LLC. She will counsel Leaf Pile Media.

  • Jim Rossi ’82, managing partner, Saratoga Polo Association. He will counsel Munchi Heaven Agri.

  • Michael Stein ’89, founding partner, Pensam Capital LLC.  He will counsel East Coast Lacrosse.

In Friday night's competition, Raymond C. H. Bryan, ’04, financial advisor with Janney Montgomery Scott, served as a judge in place of Michael Stein.

Related News

Students, staff and faculty joined together for an afternoon of mystery “making” at the Hub, a Skidmore maker space.
Apr 19 2018

Skidmore News
The contract for the construction of the first phase of Center for Integrated Sciences (CIS) has been awarded to MLB Construction Services of Malta, New York. The firm also managed the construction of the Hillside apartments, Sussman Village and the Arthur Zankel Music Center.
Apr 19 2018

Inspired by Skidmore professors’ intellectual curiosities and passions, the Scribner Seminar is a cornerstone of the First-Year Experience. Browse a few of the Fall 2018 seminar offerings.
Apr 18 2018