Freirich Business Plan Competition finalists announced
Skidmore College held the first round of the Kenneth A. Freirich Business Plan Competition February 23 in Murray-Aikins Dining Hall. Judges from a variety of fields heard presentations from 15 teams, chose nine finalists and are now serving as their mentors, working with the students to refine their business plans and sharpen their presentations. A different panel of judges will evaluate presentations during the final round on April 6.
The competition, now in its eighth year, was created with the intent of fostering entrepreneurship and creativity across all majors and disciplines at Skidmore. It has grown into one of the preeminent competitions among liberal arts colleges nationally. More than 350 students and 225 businesses have entered the contest to date.
The winning teams will be awarded cash prizes and business services valued at $52,500 for writing and presenting the best business plans. The prizes are 20,000 for first place, $10,000 for second, $5,000 for third, and $2,500 for fourth. An additional $15,000 in business services will be awarded to the three top teams.
Ken Freirich, Skidmore Class of 1990, was a student entrepreneur while at Skidmore; as a sophomore, his first business was publishing a magazine for college students that was distributed on 35 college campuses in three states. He is now president of Health Monitor Network.
"There's nothing more rewarding than watching these amazingly talented and creative Skidmore students take on the biggest challenges of their lives and succeed," Freirich said. "When you challenge yourself beyond your comfort level, that's when you really grow and learn. When you start to succeed and hit a home run, that's when you see that the possibilities are endless."
The judges were Freirich, president of Health Monitor Network; Raymond Bryan '94, financial advisor, Janney Montgomery Scott LLC; Tal Chitayat '03, co-founder and CEO, Full Circle Home; Laurie J. Giddins '82, Child Mind Institute; Matt Kavet '94, founder and president, Boston America Corp.; Elizabeth Kigin '10, vice president, Pershing Advisor Solutions; Raiza Nazareth '12, investor relations manager, Conti Organization; Gregory Alan Rutchik '87, attorney; Gregg Smith '92, serial entrepreneur; and Linda Toohey, Skidmore trustee chair emerita.
The following teams will go on to the final round of the competition:
- AuxNation (Zack Jones '18, Noam Kahn '18 and Dhruv Singh '18, for-profit category)
- Bridge Education (Yutong [Grace] Zhu '18, Xinyu Guo [Bryant University], social entrepreneurship category)
- Buddies (Ward Mahoney '20)
- Craft Cloud (Jamerly De La Cruz '18 and Taina Cotto '20, for-profit)
- Edutrer (Naira Abdula '20, social entrepreneurship)
- Healing the Divide (Philip Cain '18, social entrepreneurship)
- Kind Cultures (Graham Gilmore '18, for-profit)
- Stackable Collectible Lip Balm (Jacob Livingston '19, for-profit)
- Z's (Izaak Cohen '20, for-profit)