FSC Student Entrepreneurs Showcase 11 Original Business Ideas

Farmingdale State College (FSC) was pleased to recently host its first annual Ram Tank competition with sponsorship from Derek Peterson of Soter Technologies, George Andriopoulos of Launchpad Five One Six and SPEAK, and the Farmingdale College Foundation. Held in both Ward Hall’s Great Room and the School of Business, the event was FSC’s first round of theNew York State Business Plan Competition (NYBPC) and showcased nearly a dozen original business plans from FSC student entrepreneurs.  

FSC students Kai Schrader, ‘24, a business management major, and Andrew Lewis, ‘24 a criminal justice: law enforcement tech major, took first place with LinedUp, a reservation system application currently being developed that provides users with designated time slots and instant access when they arrive at their destination, according to Schrader and Lewis.  

In second place were FSC students Alexa Gutterson, ‘24, a business management major, and Julia Seitz, ‘24, a professional communications major and business management minor, with GURU, “an all-in-one travel beauty bag, mirror, and digital assistant created to maximize convenience and boost women’s confidence,” according to Gutterson and Seitz, who created their idea after a recent trip to New Zealand.  

“GURU stands for ‘Glow Ur Real U,’ which clearly reflects our brand's mission to uplift women while also relating to our product’s benefits,” said Gutterson.  

Third and fourth place went to FSC students Llamar Owens, '26, a business management major, with AudioBins, and Steve Merkouris, '24, a business management major, with Dissip, respectively. AudioBins is an audio file storage and organization desktop application, “born out of the struggle of being unorganized and is an attempt to bring better organization to more people like me,” said Owens. 

Dissip “transcends the reusable water bottle industry by providing a fully customizable platform,” according to Merkouris. “The inspiration behind my business plan stemmed from my own personal journey,” he said. “In April 2023, I began making health and lifestyle changes that ultimately helped me to lose 75 pounds. After reflecting on the successes of my health journey, I narrowed in on two key factors that I felt helped me most to achieve my goals: proper water intake and a community of support.” 

“We had an exciting event this year,” said Dr. Richard Vogel, dean of FSC’s School of Business. “We had over 20 teams submit applications and had 11 teams present their business plans. We are extremely happy with how the event turned out and cannot wait until next year. Congratulations to the winners!” 

“It was a pleasure to work with Dr. Vogel, and Matthew Colson, FSC vice president for development & alumni engagement, to host Farmingdale State College’s first Ram Tank,” said Peterson. “I thought the students all presented their business plans very clearly and concisely. Overall, the night was a success, and I am looking forward to next year.”  

Like the popular TV show, Shark Tank, the Ram Tank participants presented before a panel of established industry professionals, including Peterson and Andriopoulos, who doled out valuable entrepreneurial advice to each team.  

“The judges' input was extremely helpful to us, and we have taken all of their thoughts into account as we keep moving forward,” said Schrader.  

“They made us think more about the financial aspects, manufacturing costs specifically,” Gutterson said of the judges.  

“[The judges' input] allowed me to look at the product from a different angle and make adjustments that will simplify the business plan process,” said Merkouris. “At the same time, their feedback reminded me sometimes simple is better, and this has helped me to streamline certain areas of the brand.” 

The competition’s top two finalists took home cash prizes, and all four winning teams advanced on to NYBPC’s second round, the Long Island Regional Competition, where they competed against students from the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT), SUNY (State University of New York) Old Westbury, Stony Brook University, Adelphi University, and Hofstra University. Team LinedUp and Team GURU have moved on to NYBPC's third round, and will compete for larger prizes at the state finals in Albany, New York, on April 25, 2024.

“We cannot wait to participate in the next round as any and all opinions and feedback allow us to grow our business plan for the better,” said Schrader. “We are extremely grateful for this opportunity that Ram Tank has given us!” 

View photos from Ram Tank 2024 on our Flickr Gallery.