Air fried doughnut shop contest entry wins student free tuition

By Hannah Newman

Freshman accounting major Caitlin Hopkinson was granted full-tuition to Rider courtesy of Norm Brodsky ’64 through the 2022 Norm Brodsky Business Concept Competition with her entry of an air-fried doughnut shop called “Air Fried & Frosted.”

“My incentive by creating Air Fried and Frosted was for people to no longer have to worry about the health effects that not only food has but specifically doughnuts have on their health. This creates a healthy alternative with the same taste minus the health concerns. These doughnuts also cater to gluten and dairy free customers,” said Hopkinson.

To enter the contest, students ranging from sophomores to seniors in high school must write a I 400 word analysis on a business concept as well as the purpose for the product, the advertising methods that will be used and the sources of revenue. The business must be an original but also reasonable idea.

This contest began in 2015 when the idea was pitched at an entrepreneurial studies advisory board meeting. It was brought up when discussing different types of programs that could expand the experiences of students choosing to attend Rider. The competition was only offered to high schools in the same area as Rider, then it was opened to all students in New Jersey. The prizes consisted of $1,000 for the first place winner, $500 for second and $250 for third.

After measuring the results for two years, the amount of participants in competition were increasing and in order for there to be persistent growth, the stakes had to be raised.

Brodsky got involved in the competition in 2018 after the committee began reaching out to alumni that might be interested in supporting the contest. Brodsky was asked if he would be willing to grant the first place winning a scholarship of $10,000 a year. Brodsky’s passion for student success and the university led him to proposing a full tuition scholarship to the first place winner.

“The object was to get more young men and women to come to this school, that was the objective of me giving it,” said Brodsky.

After Brodsky’s involvement, the competition gained immense publicity and the entries increased from 60 to 200 from 2017 to 2018. Not only did the prizes reach their full potential, but so did the opportunity to apply.

Ron Cook, Dean of graduate studies for the Norm Brodsky College of Business, said, “We started out with New Jersey students then we broadened the appeal.

We mostly attract students from New Jersey and the surrounding area. We’ve had entries as far as Mexico, California and Canada.”

The entries are categorized among groups of anonymous judges. These groups narrow down the participants that will move further and then go through another panel of judges that will determine the winners. Brodsky refused to take part in the judging process.

Brodsky stressed that business ideas come from everywhere, and that an entrepreneur is not just a career, it is a mindset that everyone can have to be successful. “It’s a way of thought and a way of doing things,” said Brodsky.

The previous winner of this contest, sophomore biochemistry major Maggie Achanzar, used her science oriented background to develop a business strategy that earned her a free college experience to pursue her desired career.

Achanzar said, “My invention was Sili-Head, your styling buddy. Sili-Head simply stgps styling snafus. Sili-Head is a silicone-covered wig head with soft silicone spikes on the top.

The silicone allows the wig head to be reusableand is biodegradable. The soft silicone spikes stop wigs from falling off the wig head. Sili-Head comes in three sizes, all average sizes of an actual human head.”

The result of this contest came as a shock to Achanzar but was the catalyst of a new beginning to achieve her goals in the field of science.

“When I won the Norm Brodsky Business Concept Competition, I was surprised, but I was excited. Winning the competition opened up a world of possibilities for me,” said Achanzar. “The work I put into my concept and into the competition paid off. I realized that I was joining a wonderful community here at Rider.”

Brodsky’s continuous contributions to students’ college education is supported by his passion for learning.

“Life is a series of lessons, school is forever. I am still learning all of the time. A person that stops learning at any age is a fool. I learned that the hard way. I am still learning about things I want to do, what I don’t want to do and things of that nature,” said Brodsky. “When I came to Rider, it was the second year that this college was on campus. It was the only school that accepted me and look what happened, it’s amazing.”

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