By Lauren Lavelle
The stakes were high at the annual Norm Brodsky Business Competition on Jan. 26, as 10 high school students competed for a chance to win cash prizes and a four-year, full-tuition scholarship to Rider.
Presented by Rider’s Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, the competition aims to develop high school students’ entrepreneurial skills by helping them plan and present a practical business concept.
“They are asked to write a 400 word description of their business idea,” said Lisa Teach, director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and coordinator of the competition. “We tell them to think about a pain or a problem their business solves, who their targeting market is, where would they distribute it and if it can be a profitable business.”
According to Teach, the competition received 229 submissions, a 12 percent increase from last year’s event.
Of the 229 submissions, a top 60 were chosen to advance to the next round where a panel of five judges narrowed down the submissions to the top five for both the senior and sophomore/junior categories. The final groups of students were invited to pitch their concepts to three judges.
“They presented ‘Shark Tank’-style,” said Teach. “They got five minutes to present in front of the judges and the judges got to ask them questions about their products or their services.”
The winner of the senior category received a four-year, full-tuition Rider scholarship and the winner of the sophomore/junior category got $750 and an automatic entry into the senior division when they become a senior.
A major standout among the group was Eric Voros, a senior at Shawnee High School in Medford, New Jersey, who’s idea for a modern-looking belt that turns into a tourniquet, a device used to stop bleeding in emergency situations, wowed the judges and earned him the competition’s top prize, a full-tuition scholarship.
“Rider was my number one school for months,” said Voros who plans on majoring in marketing next fall. “I planned on going [to Rider] anyway so I just went for it.”
Voros was confident in his presentation but did not want to get his hopes up.
“I definitely wasn’t expecting it,” Voros said. “It was amazing. From my number one school, winning that? It was a pretty big deal.”
According to Voros, the concept for the belt, which he named Orion’s Belt, came about two years ago after one of his brothers left the marines.
“Both my brothers were marines,” he said. “They influenced me because they always carry tourniquets. They educated me about tourniquets and, from that, I came up with the idea.”
Recently, Voros applied for a probationary patent on Orion’s Belt, which gives him a year to perfect his design before he can apply for an official patent. In the meantime, Voros is working on expanding his design.
“I have several different designs,” Voros said. “The one I brought to the contest was a dress belt but there’s also a couple different ones I’m working on. What I’m aiming for is something that anybody could use, it doesn’t really matter what your job is or if you’re wearing it casually. Just having it wherever you are could help you in case something bad happens.”