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Business Students Advance in State-Wide Business Plan Competition


The St. John Fisher College School of Business has a lot to be proud of this week after two groups of students were named semi-finalists in the 2014 New York Business Plan Competition (NYBPC).  Ryan Bilak ’14 of Maker Marketing Group, along with Matthew Keeler ’16 and Nathan Woods ’16 of Just Dangle Hockey, have been chosen to present their company business plans at the University of Rochester on April 9.

Bilak, a Marketing major, is one of the founders of one of Maker Marketing Group, a full-service internet marketing company that specializes in social, search, and conversions.  Marker Marketing Group creates custom marketing campaigns that suit the needs and budget of their clients, as well as, helping them turn their websites into a powerful selling tool.  Their services include link building, content marketing, web design, social media, reputation management, email marketing, and pay-per-click advertising.  Bilak hopes that this competition will allow him the opportunity to continue his passion for internet marketing and hopefully develop his own software down the road.

Keeler, CEO of Just Dangle Hockey, and Woods, COO, are both sophomore Management majors that want to spread the hockey lifestyle to players and fans alike.  Their company is a hockey apparel company that connects hockey players around the world through a collection of sweatshirts, shirts, pants, hats, and sunglasses—all with a branded logo representing their passion for the sport.  And even though the company is less than three years old, the brand has already been gaining recognition with the NHL’s top prospects including Tyler Seguin, Thomas Vanek, Nathan Gerbe, and many more. 

“We never expected it to be this big,” said Keeler. “It started as something fun to do and now we have 15,000 followers on Twitter.” 

Keeler and Woods hope to use this competition as an opportunity to add a collection of customized hockey sticks and a line of golf apparel to their inventory.  They would also love to see their company’s apparel in several hockey retail stores in the near future.

The students were closely mentored throughout the process by Dr. Mary Kay Copeland, Assistant Professor.

Since 2010, over 570 student teams from over 50 New York colleges and universities have pitched their ideas and innovations at the NYBPC.  The winners of the competition will be selected by esteemed judges, including bankers, entrepreneurs, and other public and private investors.  The final round of completion will take place in the state capital on April 25 when finalists compete for a large cash prize.

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