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SUNY Potsdam Business Administration Students Win Campus Entrepreneurial Competition

December 13, 2017

Following this year’s business plan and product prototype competition at SUNY Potsdam, the judging panel posed for a photo with the winners. Clockwise, from top left: Jorge Guillermon, Luke Weisbrod, Ellen Rogan, Nikki Wormwood, Dr. Edwin J. Portugal, Matthew Hoffman, Matthew Skidders, Dan Hayes, Sherry Paradis and Dr. David Kistler.

SUNY Potsdam’s Department of Business Administration recently hosted its 49th Business Plan and Product Prototype Competition, which challenges students to develop an entrepreneurial business plan that fulfills the need of a specific group of consumers. A simple idea took home the big prize this semester, according to Professor Dr. Edwin J. Portugal.

College students experience hectic mornings as they rush to change, eat breakfast and dash to their first class. With this scenario in mind, the winning team of students in Portugal’s “Strategic and Global Management” course at SUNY Potsdam developed a unique product that would help those students in a hurry create a semblance of being organized. Their product was a simple magnetic strip designed to serve as an organizing platform inside a book bag.

The winning team included Jorge Guillermo ’18 (Bronx, NY), Matthew Hoffman ’17 (Patterson, NY), Ellen Rogan ’18 (Vestal, NY), Matthew Skidders ’18 (Hogansburg, NY), Luke Weisbrod ’17 (Cazenovia, NY) and Nicole Wormwood ’17 (Carthage, NY), who are all senior students in business administration, set to graduate this December or this coming May. Rogan served as team leader.

More than 25 students in five different teams worked throughout the Fall 2017 semester learning about the “business model canvas,” and integrating what they have learned about business administration. They utilized their understanding of accounting, finance, marketing, management, information systems, business law, human resource management and business strategy in coming up with 100-page business plans. On top of that, they were required to make a 20-minute formal pitch to external judges that included Dr. David Kistler, Sherry Paradis ’00 and Dan Hayes.

All five teams competed for the Team Excellence Trophy, which honors the team that best exemplifies team work, innovative thinking, integration of business concepts and professional business presentation skills.

This fall marked the 25th year and the 49th iteration of the entrepreneurial business plan competition at SUNY Potsdam, which is offered every semester.

“Students experience the stimulation of intensely working in teams and the exhilaration of innovative thinking,” said Portugal, who introduced the competition back in 1993. “Students also take their public speaking to a higher level and face head-on the challenges of pulling each member’s unique talents into a cohesive team performance.”

SUNY Potsdam’s Department of Business Administration is accredited by the International Assembly of Collegiate Business Education. The department 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. For more information, visit

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 3,700 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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Jason Hunter, College Communications (315) 267-2114

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