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SUNY Potsdam Business Administration Students Win Campus Entrepreneurial Competition

December 29, 2021

Strategic and Global Management Students at SUNY Potsdam Take Home Prize in College Competition 

SUNY Potsdam’s Department of Business Administration recently hosted its 54th Business Plan and Product Prototype Competition, which challenges students to develop an entrepreneurial business plan fulfilling the need of a specific group of consumers.  

Thirty-one students spent the entire Fall 2021 semester developing a business plan, starting from scratch. They first had to identify a target market to sell a unique product which would ease and simplify the morning routine of consumers. Several of the product ideas included a folding two-in-one hairbrush and toothbrush, hairbrush that dispenses hair conditioner, remote-controlled curtains, multipurpose face mask, and cereal box decanter. 

Seven teams in two sections of the capstone Strategic and Global Management class presented their business plans. One section’s competition was held in person in a classroom, and the other section was via Zoom. Two sets of external judges, all volunteers, provided feedback to all teams and picked the best business plan team presentations. 

The winning in-person team was led by team manager Morgan Brown  (Spokane Valley, Wash.), with team members Sarah Campbell (Harrisville, N.Y.), Colin Michaud (Massena, N.Y.) and Bethany Varriale (Northville, N.Y.). The winning virtual team was led by Alexis Hayles (Brooklyn, N.Y.), with team members Sierra Ashley (Ogdensburg, N.Y.), Mackenzie Denny (Watertown, N.Y.), Robert Mulligan (Dexter, N.Y.) and Thomas Terranova (Middletown, N.J.). 

The business plan competition was introduced in 1993 by Professor Dr. Edwin J. Portugal to give students the opportunity to work intensively and collaboratively in teams to create a real-life business plan. The teams apply concepts they learned in their business courses, such as accounting, finance, marketing, management, business operations, human resources, legal issues, and information systems.  

“I sense the urgency and exhilaration of the students as the competition nears,” said Dr. Portugal. “The competitive spirit is palpable on the day of the competition. It adds a layer of excitement and raises the level of excellence in the presentations to external judges.” 

In addition to the presentation, teams had to write an integrated business plan, including value propositions, target market, customer relationships, channels of distribution, key partnerships, key resources, key business operations, revenue streams and cost structure. Each team had to submit a binder of the business plan with supporting documents. Also included in the proposals were business competitive advantages, strategic directions, and globalization plans, requiring the students to plan their long-term expansion beyond the United States.  

“I really liked it because it simulated an actual business that we had to create from the ground up and actually see how the business model works in real life,” said Morgan Brown ’22, manager of the winning in-person team and a senior business administration major. “I was lucky to have a good group that made the process enjoyable, and we were able to collaborate on different ideas for a unique product. I found the course to be very helpful in preparing me for the real world.” 

Brown’s team proposed a two-in-one detangler hairbrush that has a built-in conditioner dispenser to cut time during morning preparation for school or work. The winning virtual team proposed a unique remote-controlled curtain that is operated by a smartphone app. 

“The judges were fair, and they asked very interesting and challenging questions. Even though the competition was through Zoom for our section, we all managed to still do our very best,” said Alexis Hayles ’22, the other winning team manager. “I thought this was a great experience for me personally, especially with the leadership role that I had throughout the semester, and I am thrilled that my group and I won the competition.” 

The business plans were judged based on content knowledge, integration, organization, use of presentation visuals, prototype, presentation mechanics, delivery and flow.  

This semester’s two sets of judges included SUNY Potsdam Assistant Softball Coach Abigail Hodgdon, Wendy Jones ’22, and SUNY Research Foundation Associate Naomi Martinez, who judged in-person. Judging via Zoom were Laura R. Mosman ’22, Northern New York Community Foundation Associate Kayla Perry, Counseling Center Administrative Assistant Ellie Prashaw and Student Success Center Assistant Director Annette Robbins. 

Students in the Department of Business Administration continue to reap the benefits of applied learning throughout the program. Students are regularly engaged in reading and writing intensive case analyses for real-life organizations, whether they are analyzing financial statements, developing business or marketing plans, creating social media marketing strategies for local and domestic companies, recommending innovative supply chain strategies, developing sustainability action plans, crafting digital transformation strategies, working with regional economic development agencies or completing their capstone projects. 

SUNY Potsdam’s Department of Business Administration offers flexible bachelor’s and master’s degrees in competitive fields, and provides students with an understanding of how for-profit and non-profit organizations function efficiently and effectively. The College offers its business administration and management programs both at the Potsdam campus and in Watertown, N.Y., at the SUNY Jefferson Higher Education Center. For more information, visit 

About SUNY Potsdam:  

Founded in 1816, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America’s first 50 colleges—and the oldest institution within SUNY. Now in its third century, SUNY Potsdam is distinguished by a legacy of pioneering programs and educational excellence. The College currently enrolls approximately 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its challenging liberal arts and sciences core, distinction in teacher training and culture of creativity. To learn more, visit 

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