February and March of this year saw some of our BU students participate in a wonderful event, organized by our friends and neighbors at State University of New York Plattsburgh: the first annual Free Enterprise Olympics . This was a multi-round event involving students from Saint Michael’s, University of Vermont, Clarkson University, and five SUNY campuses.
For the first stage of the event, each participating campus held its own “Free Enterprise Speak Off” where students gave 3-5 minute speeches on the theme “Free Enterprise + Entrepreneurship: The formula for a stronger economy”. Our Free Enterprise Speak Off was held on Friday February 8. The winner was BU major Alexandra N. Brenock ’15, who won the first round prize of $150.00. (BU major Parker LeClerc ’14 won the 2nd place prize of $75.00).
Alexandra then joined a team of BU seniors (Michelle M. McGuinness, Thomas W. Fergus and Patrick S. McFetridge), accompanied by Prof. Robert Letovsky, as they travelled to SUNY Plattsburgh on Friday March 1 for the final events of the Free Enterprise Olympics. In the morning, the winners of each of the eight participating institutions gave their speeches to a panel of judges, competing for cash prizes for the top three speakers. Alexandra won the 3rd place prize of $250!
Then, in late morning, all eight student teams listened to a presentation from the representative of a local manufacturer, Smart Cart Enterprises LLC. The company challenged the student teams to develop new designs of its main product that would enable it to enter new markets and grow the business. Following the presentation, each student team was taken to a separate classroom where they were “locked up” for an hour before lunch, and then for another two hours after lunch, in order to prepare a 5 minute pitch to the company’s owner/CEO and a panel of judges.
The Saint Michael’s team focused its presentation on a new version of the company’s basic cart which would allow gardeners, farmers and athletic field operators to spread seeds, fertilizer, or sand across a wide area. The presentation offered a design for the new model, as well as a pricing and distribution strategy and a brief comparison with current competing products.
Based on the deliberation of the judges and the company’s owner/CEO, the Saint Michael’s team was awarded first prize and won the $1,000 cash prize. SUNY Albany and Clarkson finished 2nd and 3rd respectively.
We’ve attached a photo of the team posing with company CEO Martin Drolet, and one of the team “in action” as it presented to the judges.
Saint Michael’s winning team, l. to r., Alexandra N. Brenock, Thomas W. Fergus, Michelle M. McGuinness, Patrick S. McFetridge; Muller’s Carts CEO Martin Drolet, and SMC Business Department Chair Robert Letovsky.
SMC Business students presenting their design and marketing plan to the judges at the SUNY Plattsburgh Free Enterprise Olympics, March 1, 2013.