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Clarkson student-athletes sticking to business plan

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POTSDAM - Several Clarkson University freshman athletes have turned their passion for sports into a business concept and plan to develop a spray-on adhesive to improve a hockey stick’s grip.

Each year, groups in Clarkson’s Introduction to Entrepreneurship and Business Innovation class - freshmen only a few weeks into their college career - spend the fall semester developing a business concept. This year’s class presented their ideas to a panel of alumni and faculty in November; some groups were awarded Clarkson Business School loans to further develop their proposal.

A team of five Clarkson men’s hockey players and one baseball player received a $2,000 loan to research and develop a product designed to improve the grip on a hockey stick. The team of business majors are goalie Andrew Hunt, forwards Christian Finch, Todd Christian and Patrick Megannety, defensemen Paul Geiger, and Connor Martin, an infielder on the baseball team.

“This is the first year that we have had a business concept formed exclusively by student athletes,” says School of Business Instructor Marc Compeau, who teaches the class. “It seems obvious given the importance of the team, the work ethic and the follow through that comes naturally to a student athlete. I think these guys have the potential to do something pretty exciting, on and off the ice.”

The product, called Shaft Takk, would allow hockey players to better customize their grip. It would be manufactured in aerosol cans or pump spray dispensers and sold to professional and junior hockey teams, the students said.

The athletes said it wasn’t difficult to brainstorm a business idea early in their college careers: they simply thought of a problem they found while playing their sport and tried to find a solution for it.

“We’re not doing it just to do it. We’re kind of interested in it too,” Mr. Christian, a freshman hockey forward, said of the project.

The group is working with Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering professor Don H. Rasmussen, who is advising the students on the science behind the product. The students may have found a niche by developing a product intended for the cold conditions of an ice rink, Mr. Rasmussen said.

“Depending on how dedicated they are to getting it where they want to get it, they can do it,” Mr. Rasmussen said. “It’s a great effort on their part.”

Several other student groups also received loans to pursue their concepts further, including “Campus Cuts,” an on-campus haircut and styling business and Know B4U Go, a mobile application allowing students to view cameras of campus dining centers on their mobile device to check on crowds before deciding where to eat. “Feroz’en Yogurt,” a frozen yogurt business proposal, and Campus Market Exchange, a Web site allowing students to post products for sale, also received loans.

“This year’s concepts were not only diverse but much more complex compared to the past few years,” Mr. Compeau said. “We have adjusted our approach to building a foundation of understanding opportunities and basic business modeling this year, but the credit goes to a great group of students who clearly are up to the challenge. I can’t wait to see what they do next.”

See video at http://youtu.be/gJWNqY2JIco.

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