Thursday, Feb 3, 2022
Cait Hopkinson wins 2022 Norm Brodsky Business Concept Competition
by Rachel Stengel '14, '20
Cait Hopkinson, a senior at Manasquan High School, won a full, four-year tuition scholarship to Rider University in the 2022 Norm Brodsky Business Concept Competition.
On. Jan 29, she presented her business idea — an air-fried doughnut shop — to a panel of judges in the annual competition.
"I never thought I would come out on top and be the big winner, but the feeling is mind blowing and is still so surreal," Hopkinson says. "Winning this scholarship helped relieve a lot of stress in figuring out all of the financials for college."
Hopkinson worked on her business idea, AIR Fried & Frosted, in an entrepreneurship class at school. She wanted to create a healthier spin on a breakfast favorite, using an air fryer rather than the traditional method of frying doughnuts in oil. Part of her business model also includes gluten-free and dairy-free options. She has even created her own prototypes at home.
When she learned about the scholarship competition, she knew she had to enter.
"I went in thinking it was a perfect opportunity and an ideal way to get experience regardless of the outcome," she says.
Passionate about her business idea, Hopkinson hopes to bring it to life in the future. At Rider, she plans to study accounting with an emphasis on fraud and business forensics.
Rider’s annual Norm Brodsky Business Concept Competition challenges high school students to develop an innovative business idea and present it in front of a panel of judges, Shark Tank style. This year’s finale judges were Bill Cunningham of Encompass Media, Joe Lopez of the Uncommon Individual Foundation and Lisa Teach '02, '09, adjunct professor for the Norm Brodsky College of Business.
Held virtually this year in light of a winter storm, five seniors competed for the top prize of a full, four-year scholarship, while five juniors and sophomores competed for cash prizes and the chance to automatically be entered into the senior competition when eligible.
Rider received more than 300 submissions for this year’s competition. Applicants were required to submit a brief summary of their business concept, which went through two rounds of review by a group of judges, before being narrowed down to the 10 finalists.
Other winners included: Denver Edwards of Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan (second place, senior division); Thomas Wright of Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School (third place, senior division); Sofia Ruvo of Park Ridge High School (first place, sophomore/junior division, and automatic entry into the senior division next year); Lola Cantillon of Newark Academy (second place, sophomore/junior division); and Brianna Fazi of Park Ridge High School (third place, sophomore/junior division).
"We are incredibly proud to welcome Cait to Rider," says Lora Hudicka, director of Rider's Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. "All the judges and I were inspired by her passion and budding business acumen. We cannot wait to see how she thrives at Rider and continues to embrace her entrepreneurial spirit."
The competition is sponsored by husband and wife Norm Brodsky ’64 and Elaine Brodsky. Norm, a long-time entrepreneur who is the namesake of Rider’s Norm Brodsky College of Business, founded eight successful businesses, including Citi Storage, the largest privately owned archive business in the country. He also heartily believes that anyone, regardless of industry or job title, can benefit from an entrepreneurial mindset. This mindset is recognizable throughout the College’s 40 undergraduate and graduate programs, minors and certificates.