A trio of innovative Rider University students swept the 2013 New Jersey Collegiate Entrepreneur of the Year Competition in May.
Rider’s Center for Entrepreneurial Studies hosted this year’s competition, in which students from universities across the Garden State competed against each other in the hopes that their fledgling businesses would be appealing to the independent panel of judges. First-, second- and third-place winners were announced at an awards banquet, from evaluation criteria that determined entrepreneurial spirit, obstacles overcome, success of business, concern for quality and customer service, and estimated potential for future success. Prizes included $1,000 for first place, $500 for second place and a plaque for third place.
Anastasia Snyder ’16, a Business Administration major (who will switch to Political Science) from Feasterville, Pa., earned first place with Pinball Girl, a vintage pinball machine parts business. Angelina Marchiafava ’13 of Branchburg, N.J., who earned dual bachelor’s degrees in Marketing and Advertising in May, took second place for Angelina’s Marketing & Social Media Consulting. Stephen Johnston ’13 of Whitehouse Station, N.J., who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Entrepreneurial Studies, rounded out the top three with his business, Tabhair Records & Music Publishing LLC. Johnson also took third in the 2012 competition.
Snyder’s business, Pinball Girl, leverages the power of the Internet to connect thousands of pinball enthusiasts with parts suppliers seeking elements of electromechanical pinball machines built between 1940 and 1978.
“I recycle the parts from the entire body of the machine, including the used playfield, wiring and score fields,” said Snyder, whose business was recently spotlighted in the Bucks County Courier Times. Once harvested, the parts are reconditioned and sold via online auctions to collectors and hobbyists who restore their own machines.
“The majority of my parts are no longer manufactured, which increases the demand for recycled parts,” explained Snyder, who added that Pinball Girl has shipped as far as South Africa, Europe and Australia, as well as all over the United States.
The second-place finisher, Marchiafava, runs Angelina’s Marketing & Social Media Consulting, which specializes in helping small businesses create, maintain and utilize their social media and marketing outlets to their fullest potential. “Small local businesses need an edge over invasive national chains, and Angelina’s Marketing & Social Media Consulting provides just that, and at a reasonable cost,” Marchiafava said.
Tabhair Records & Music Publishing, LLC, which earned third-place honors for Johnston, is a record label involved in the production, distribution, and marketing of records of independent music acts. Tabhair, which means “give” in Irish Gaelic, represents the acoustic duo Beannacht, a two-time Jersey Acoustic Music award winner and 11-time nominee that was named one of the Top Music Makers of 2011 by the new York-based Irish Voice newspaper.
Mercer Wealth Management, ZieglerWorld, and the Watchung and Hillsborough Five Guys Burgers and Fries locations sponsored this year’s event in conjunction with Rider’s Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. The Center is now making plans for the 2014 competition, and those interested in helping as a sponsor or judge, are asked to contact Dr. Lee J. Zane, assistant professor of Entrepreneurial Studies, at email@example.com.