Budding SUNY Potsdam entrepreneurs open their own business


Two teams of SUNY Potsdam student entrepreneurs have big plans to learn about the mechanics of starting a business by going out and doing it. 

One team is helping spread stronger SUNY Potsdam pride across campus and the other team is learning the basics of mapping a target market niche and finding a way to fill a need of the market segment.  Both teams are in the “Principles of Entrepreneurship” course being taught this semester as an advanced business elective course.

“It has been a challenge for these eager and enthusiastic students,” said Professor of Business Administration Dr. Ed Portugal, who teaches the course. “There were also moments of frustration as they learn the complexities of starting a business. Now, for the next several weeks they will be executing their business plans, and they are hoping to see some profits at the end of the sales period.”

The business plans include the rudiments of accounting, finance, business operations, legal environment of business, management and marketing.

One team has designed shirts for students looking for an inexpensive way to support the school at sports events or just simply to show overall pride to be a “bear,” which is the mascot for SUNY Potsdam. Members of the team are Tori Ebert of Middletown, John Van Tassel of Adams Center, Brendan Graney of Ticonderoga and Chris Janaro of Potsdam.

Scott’s Auto and Eben’s Hearth Restaurant are subsidizing the initial capitalization and in exchange their names are on the sleeves of the shirts.

“In many of my business classes, I learn about formulating business plans and predicting the outcomes,” said VanTassel. “This course is interesting because we actually get to see our business plan put into action and see if it really works.”

The team also made a link on Facebook and if anyone adds “Bear Pride” as a friend, they can find promotional discounts and more information about the team.

The shirts are on sale now at The College Store in the Barrington Student Union until the last week of classes this semester. The team will also operate the business at the Student Union Lobby on Mondays and Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

The second group of young entrepreneurs is composed Chris McGregor of Johnstown, Cory Manning of Saratoga Springs, Ashley Wiggins of Ogdensburg and Mike Bateman of Ogdensburg.They started a discount card business called “Bear Necessities” that allows cardholder discounts at local eateries and selected stores in the Potsdam area.

The team is selling the discount cards just outside The College Store.

“This has been an exciting entrepreneurial process thus far,” said Bateman. “And we hope to be financially successful by seeing some profits.”

The “Principles of Entrepreneuship” course is one of several advanced business electives that students can choose after they have completed the 10 required foundation courses in business. First, students study the functional areas of business that include accounting, finance, marketing, management, operations management, information systems for business, legal environment of business, and strategic and global management.

Then they choose a specialty area in business and take additional courses in that field. Students can choose from marketing, entrepreneurship, management and general business.

There are about 250 majors in business administration, minors in music business and minors in business administration.

For more information about the entrepreneurship course, contact Dr. Portugal at portugej@potsdam.edu.

Dr. Portugal
| portugej@potsdam.edu