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SUNY Potsdam Business Administration Students Win Campus Entrepreneurial Competition

June 7, 2018

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: Shannon Wagner, Brianna Rodda, Danielle Pound, Amy Johnson, Sam Dickstein, Nathaniel Carey, Ellen Rogan, Rebecca Weissman, Jennifer Corona and David Kistler.

SUNY Potsdam’s Department of Business Administration recently hosted its 50th Entrepreneurial Business Plan and Product Prototype Competition, which challenges students to develop an entrepreneurial concept to fulfill the needs of a specific group of consumers.

This semester, Professor Dr. Edwin J. Portugal challenged students in his “Strategic and Global Management” class to come up with products that would appeal to avid sports fans to attend 25 spectator events per year. The winning team of six students came up with a “Relax ’n Refresh” stadium seat, a portable seat with an attached beverage cooler hidden in the back with a sipping straw.

The winning team included Nathaniel Carey (Potsdam, N.Y.), Sam Dickstein (Potsdam, N.Y.), Amy Johnson (Mannsville, N.Y.), Danielle Pound (Henderson, N.Y.), Brianna Rodda (Holbrook, N.Y.) and Shannon Wagner (Monroe, N.Y.).

“I was ecstatic when my team earned first place in the presentation competition, even more so because my team outperformed four other impressive presentations,” said Dickstein, who was designated the leader of his team. “In the two classes I have taken with Dr. Portugal, I have learned to provide and accept valuable feedback, navigate the intricacies of working within a team of varying strengths, and how to lead diverse students to create a winning presentation.”

More than 30 students in five different teams competed in the competition.

Four external judges examined the business proposals and quizzed the teams about the viability, marketability and profitability of their plans. The judges this semester were Rebecca Weisman, associate director of giving; Jennifer Corona, publisher’s representative for Pearson Professional and Career; Dr. David Kistler, professor of accounting, and Ellen Rogan, who was the team leader of the 49th Championship Team in Fall 2017.

Portugal started the competition in 1993, and is now in its 25th year. The event showcases the semester-long team projects that require the teams to develop a 100-page business plan and make a professional presentation to external judges.

“It is a real challenge for students to integrate what they have learned in accounting, finance, management, marketing, business information systems, legal environment analysis, human resource management and operations management,” said Dr. Portugal. “Students experience the stimulation of working in teams, the exhilaration of coming up with an innovative product and the excitement of competing with other teams.”

Dickstein concluded: “This project gave my team an understanding of a real business plan and provided a deeper understanding of the logistical hurdles, interpersonal skills and creative imagination that contribute to creating a successful product and company.”

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 3,600 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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