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St. Mike's business students win competition prize

03.18.15
By: Mark Tarnacki
Business students win prize

Flanked on either side by their Business Department advisers, the Saint Michael's team of entrepreneurs poses with a check representing their second-place prize.

A team of Saint Michael's College business students won a $600 second-place prize at the 3rd Annual Free Enterprise Marathon at SUNY Plattsburgh on Friday, March 6, for designing and devising a marketing plan for a new Girl Scout cookie variety they called "Bright Bites."

Sixty students from 12 colleges and high schools in New York and Vermont participated in the day-long Marathon. The competing Saint Michael's team of seniors Ryan Ayers, Megan Beattie, Alexandra Brenock, Isabelle Carter and Jacob Joseph beat out teams from SUNY Adirondack and SUNY Plattsburgh in the college division of the Team Creativity and Innovation Competition, won by the University of Vermont team.

Accompanying the Saint Michael's students were their advisers, Business Professors Robert Letovsky and Karen Popovich, who worked with the team on practice sessions and preparation.

The Marathon involved 10 colleges or universities from the region. Organizers also presented cash prizes for the best short speech on the topic of "Free Enterprise & Entrepreneurship." Isabelle Carter of Saint Michael's competed in that morning "Speak Off Competition," giving a talk on the assigned theme, "My Strategy for Reducing the Obstacles to Entrepreneurship."

Carter then joined her teammates for the afternoon's Team Creativity and Innovation round. This year's challenge to student teams was to develop and design a new cookie for the Girl Scouts of America and present a comprehensive marketing plan for the new item. Following a brief presentation from representatives of the Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York, the teams had about two hours to conduct market research online, devise recipes and marketing plans, and pack it all into a five-minute presentation to a panel of judges.

The Saint Michael's team's plan for "Bright Bites," outlined in their PowerPoint presentation for a panel of judges, included a recipe (a blend of dark chocolate, oatmeal and honey), research justifying their proposed strategies and recommendations for packaging, pricing, promotion and distribution.

Judges included Dan Alexander, publisher, Denton Publications; Mary Buszuwski, CEO, Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York; Bob Parks, publisher, Press-Republican newspaper; Hannah Provost, business development officer, Glens Falls National Bank & Trust Co., and Kris St. Peter, vice president of marketing, products and retail services, Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York.

Grant support from the Charles Koch Foundation made the event possible, according to its chief organizer, Professor Nancy Church, chair of the SUNY Plattsburgh Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship.

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