Business student team sets a new standard at SUNY Free Enterprise competition

A team of students representing the School of Business travelled to SUNY Plattsburgh this spring to compete in the sixth annual Free Enterprise Marathon, which challenges aspiring young professionals from throughout the northeast to demonstrate knowledge and aptitude on subjects related to entrepreneurship.

For the second consecutive year, the New Paltz team swept the competition, taking top billing in both components of the event.

The Free Enterprise Marathon consists of two contests: a speak-off, where teams are allotted three to five minutes to put forth an argument on entrepreneurship, and an innovation challenge, which calls on teams to come up with an original, feasible and marketable product.

Michael Coughlin ’19 (Computer Science), James Terotta ’18 (Business Administration) and Kaitlyn DeTrinis ’18 (Management) made the trip from New Paltz to Plattsburgh for the marathon, competing against 13 other teams, including students from Clarkson University, the University of Vermont and a handful of SUNY institutions.

“This dynamic trio proudly, professionally and effectively represented the School of Business,” said Lecturer and faculty mentor Rief Kanan. “Over the six years that this competition has been held, there had never been a sweep. Now we have done it in back to back years. It’s a great example of what our students are capable of when they’re provided with an opportunity to share their knowledge and skill with the world.”

The team put in a collaborative effort to take first place in the Innovation Competition, and DeTrinis emerged triumphant in the Free Enterprise Speak-Off. It was her second year in a row besting the field in that event, this time with a moving narrative based on her father’s journey to start his own business.

“The heart of an entrepreneur is inside all of us,” DeTrinis said. “To be an entrepreneur, you must live in a constant state of uncertainty. Every time opportunity knocks on your door, you must answer it with no excuses, no concerns, and follow your own intuition. To be an entrepreneur you must look at all perspectives, to make decisions that won’t be easy. You must be vulnerable, and trust yourself. We can all make mistakes, and learn from them, and never give up. To live a life you’ve always wanted, you must do things you’ve never done.”

Visit the School of Business online to learn more about entrepreneurship opportunities at SUNY New Paltz.