News

April 24, 2014

College students square off in final round of New York business plan competition

By: Megan Rogers

Source: The Business Review

Skidmore College juniors Marcella Jewell and Ezra Levy have an entrepreneurial focus this academic year: To build a business that matches the creative skills of their classmates with local business needs.

Since this fall, the team has been developing Open Campus to pair Skidmore College students' creative pursuits with the needs of local businesses. Students can design logos, website and graphics, photograph products for a fee, but businesses pay less than they would by hiring a professional company.

"It's taken over our lives. We spend so much time on this company," says Jewell, a junior studying political science and computer science at the private liberal arts college in Saratoga Springs. "I've never worked so hard on anything."

The Skidmore College juniors already have seen some payoff. They recruited a finance student from the University at Albany and a computer engineering student from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy to help build their service. They also matched 60 students to internship opportunities, placed in the top six at the Skidmore College's business plan competition, and are one of 12 Capital Region teams competing Friday at the New York Business Plan Competition.

The event will be held at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering off Fuller Road in Albany. Registration and breakfast begin at 7:45 a.m.

A total of $500,000 in prizes will be awarded.

Teams compete in one of six categories. The Open Campus team is in the social entrepreneurship and nonprofit track. Other local colleges, including UAlbany, Rensselaer and the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering are sending teams to the event.