SUNY Potsdam Business Administration Students Attend Entrepreneurs Conference

Business Administration Students from The State University of New York at Potsdam Learn about Entrepreneurship at Conference

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Clockwise, from top left: Taylor Lucas, Yonie Montes, Jordan Bautista, Conor Learn, Dr. Edwin J. Portugal, Jenna Lenhardt of RIT, Jacqueline Sube, Nicole Ridley, Thupten Thupten and Brett Watson.

POTSDAM, NY (11/02/2017) (readMedia)-- A team of business administration students from The State University of New York at Potsdam recently traveled to Rochester, N.Y., to attend the 13th annual Entrepreneurs Conference organized by the Saunders School of Business at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

The SUNY Potsdam students attended lectures and seminars during the day-long conference. Topics included social media and marketing for entrepreneurs, funding your venture, what you need to know about business incubators, legal and intellectual property issues and how success can be fueled by failure.

The SUNY Potsdam business administration students included Jordan Bautista '17, Conor Learn '20, Taylor Lucas '18, Yonie Montes '18, Nicole Ridley '18, Jacqueline Sube, Thupten Thupten '18 and Brett Watson '18.

"I enjoyed the inspirational and creative atmosphere at the whole conference," said Sube, a business administration major and exchange student from Potsdam, Germany. "The speakers presented ideas and a spirit of innovation that inspired and motivated me to work hard for my future."

After the conference, the other students also said that they learned new ideas from business professionals and successful entrepreneurs, and networked with other students who attended the conference.

"I needed direction in navigating the fears associated with starting my own business. I also wanted to network with professionals," said Ridley. "What I learned from this conference is that in order to succeed, I must first face failure. Entrepreneurs are the people who have to be able to continuously fall and get back up again stronger than ever, and when they do, they are better for it."

"I wanted to network with future leaders in industry," Learn added.

A highlight of the conference was a competition of 25 teams of students and individuals who described their business ideas to judges and hundreds in the audience.

Professor Dr. Edwin J. Portugal joined the team of business students at the Entrepreneurs Conference. He has been a professor at SUNY Potsdam for more than 20 years and teaches the department's entrepreneurship course, which will be offered again in Spring 2018.

"Teams of students go through four entrepreneurial phases during the semester during the course. The first phase is learning and applying the 'effectuation theory' that presents a framework of entrepreneurship. The second phase is 'ideation,' and this is when the teams learn to search for innovative business ideas," Portugal explained. "The third phase is 'prototyping' and this is when the teams learn to make prototypes and get feedback from potential customers. This is also called beta testing. And the fourth phase is when the business students create a realistic business plan that they present to experts, business executives and business owners."

Travel to Rochester was made possible by funds provided by the SUNY Potsdam Student Government Association. Ridley, who is a communication major minoring in business administration, organized and coordinated the travel and accommodation arrangements for the group.

SUNY Potsdam has an annual College-wide event called Economic Fusion, and one of the highlights is an innovation and business plan competition, where teams of students are invited to present their innovative ideas. The teams first submit a written proposal that covers the innovative idea, bundle of benefits gained from the idea, target market or audience, short- and long-term goals, initial capital needed to start, and projected sales or total usage in terms of gross sales or other measures of success. In 2017, more than 20 teams submitted written proposals and the best five teams gave public presentations for a panel of external judges to complete the competition.

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. The College offers its business administration baccalaureate degrees both at the Potsdam campus and in Watertown, N.Y., at the SUNY Jefferson Higher Education Center. 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 3,700 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