May 2015


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Entrepreneurship Among College Students--Alive & Well!  
Dear (Contact First Name),


      During my Sigma Nu Tau visits to many college campuses over the past few years, it has been exciting to see the entrepreneurial activities being undertaken by students!  Not only do the business plan and elevator pitch competitions help students to build their planning skills, analytical skills, strategizing ability, and communication skills, but they also help the students raise money for their business ventures with their competition winnings.  


        In addition, many universities are providing valuable services to their students to help them scale up their ventures more quickly.  Executives in residence, business coaches, outstanding guest speakers, special courses and workshops, legal/engineering/financial advice, quick prototyping, 3-D printers, incubators, and entrepreneurship clubs all motivate entrepreneurial students start their businesses or not-for-profits while in school rather than wait until after they graduate.  


      The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well on college campuses!  Be sure to read about this year's Student Entrepreneurs of the Year in this issue.  Take a look at the newest feature in our newsletter -- What's Appin'ing? -- a monthly review of  interesting new apps that are available.


Sigma Nu Tau is growing with approximately 900 members to date!  Interested in Starting a Sigma Nu Tau Chapter at your school?


    We are pleased to welcome the newest chapters of Sigma Nu Tau at York College of Pennsylvania and University of Iowa, which brings the Sigma Nu Tau family up to 19 chapters!  Would your university like to be the first in your state or region to establish a Sigma Nu Tau chapter on your campus?  You will gain a competitive advantage by being able to offer special programs and awards to your students!

     If you would like to establish a chapter at your university so that you can recognize outstanding students, faculty members, entrepreneurs, and honorary members, please visit our website ( to learn more about the process. Or give me a call to discuss it!
    Wishing you all well as the spring semester comes to a close!
Nancy J. Church
Nancy J. Church, Ph.D.
President and Executive Director
Sigma Nu Tau Entrepreneurship Honor Society
P.S.  Does your school have any news that you would like us to include in our e-newsletter?  If so, please send it to me at or post it on the Sigma Nu Tau Facebook page!
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1 st Place Winner


2015 National Student Entrepreneur-of-the-Year Award

Tim Downey, CEO and Co-Founder,, Inc.


                   B elmont University Student Entrepreneur-of-the-Year Tim Downey
                                           with Faculty Advisor Dr. Mark Schenkel



     Tim Downey grew up in Raleigh, NC where he had dreams of becoming a musician and found himself in Nashville, Tennessee attending Belmont University. He soon ditched his musical pursuits as he realized his entrepreneurial passion. His first start-up,  Edelweiss outdoors  (eventually becoming  Inviatra) , was an outdoor clothing and media company that gained a strong 3,000+ Instagram following on social media.  

     Inviatra  was never launched, however, Downey gained valuable insight into the discipline it takes to launch a start-up.  More importantly, he learned to determine when the market is telling you to pivot. In June 2014, Tim pivoted toward a crowd-sourced marketing campaign generator that he named W ithin one week of introducing his model for paid product placement on social media, Tim Downey was able to reach out and cultivate important partnerships with Google and Amazon.  is now the parent company to three subsidiaries: Sports, Music, and Ticketing.  According to Downey, the true test of balance throughout the development of his company has been demonstra- ting accountability as a student entrepreneur.  Excelling in his schoolwork, while also trying to take his clients' ventures to new heights is not something many college students are able to balance. Although Tim has faced hurdles throughout the stages of'  growth, his drive, discipline, and passion are remarkable, and Sigma Nu Tau is pleased to announce Tim Downey as the First  Place overall winner of the 2015 Sigma Nu Tau National Student Entrepreneur-of-the-Year Award. 



Emily Gandolfo- SUNY Plattsburgh
1st Runner Up- Overall Competition
SUNY Plattsburgh Student, Emily Gandolfo, 1st Runner Up 
Winner,  with Faculty  Advisor, Dr. Nancy J. Church

   Founded in 2009, Emily's Marvelous Masks is a children's entertainment business. Emily  Gandolfo started her venture fueled by her passion for art. Her passion for creative expression was  cultivated from a young age, and she enjoys using her talents to make those around her happy. Her staff is 
comprised of young women who share in her passion for art and who value and understand her  business structure. Emily also chooses to hire young women because she believes she can inspire them  to take initiative to pursue their own passions and successfully create their own businesses as well. 

     At the core of Emily's Marvelous Masks is an emphasis on urgency, discipline, accountability,  judgment, critical thinking and risk taking. Emily's Marvelous Masks values time sensitivity and responding promptly to customers and  customizing services to meet their needs. Also contributing to the company's success is the discipline exercised by her  employees. Each employee is held to the same high standards and expectations , boosting overall client satisfaction. 

     Since 2009, Emily's  Marvelous Masks has continued to experience steady growth and expansion of reach. Very rarely do  passions align with a window of opportunity in one's target market or opportunity. With Emily's 
Marvelous Masks, Emily Gandolfo has been successful in translating her passion into a sought-after service providing wholesome  entertainment for children.

Current Entrepreneurship Articles of Interest


Important Notes on Creativity from Pixar Founder         and Disney Legend, Ed Catmull


Pablo Picasso, an influential artist of the 20th century, once said "All children are born artists, the problem is to remain an artist as we grow up." It is our instrinsic nature to be creative, however, with years of social conditioning and the need to meet societal norms, we do tend to lose touch with our child-like creative capacity. The term creativity,  itself,  is not some far off concept that you choose to dabble in from time to time. Rather, when we are more mindful of the creativity embedded in our nature, we see how even the most distant of associations can create something original and innovative. When we are more mindful, we also see that there is not a place where creativity stops and then ends, for it is a constant and always spiraling endeavor.  

Disney legend and founder of Pixar, Ed Catmull, has been the pioneer in creative works that have impacted the lives of many generations. How has he been so successful? That may be the question you are asking yourself. With an emphasis on creativity and keeping in mind a few of the lessons presented below, you will be sure to set your company up for success: 

The story must come first

When it comes to critiquing creative works, all egos, organizational power-dynamics, titles, budget, and technology must be left at the door. Feedback is more likely to be effective when one individual's critique is valued just as much as the critique by the next person. At Pixar, they have created a safe space zone for the feedback on its movies. This sense of equality of opinions is valued greatly and has contributed to their long-term success.

The creative product is not a reflection of you

Throughout your undergraduate career you may have been taught by your professors that it is important to not fall in love with your idea(s). Your idea may be great, but it is important to stay objective and to be flexible enough to cope with unpredictability. This is where, as entrepreneurs, working on creative teams will be useful. 

Creating brilliant ideas takes time

As a society, we are extremely time sensitive; everything we do is ruled by the clock that continues to tick. Time management and prioritization are two life skills that continue to reign even when putting forth creative work.

The best  players only want to work with the best teams

One goal of most creative organizations, like Pixar, is to have all tiers of the organization working to deliver outstanding work consistently. Does the organization offer the necessary resources and mentoring that will allow employees to exceed organization and industry expectations? 

Creativity requires vulnerability

The seeds of success are sowed in failure, meaning the injection of the ego into projects will not yield the results desired. Emitting a sense of vulnerability, on the other hand, will go a long way. When an individual emits vulnerability willingly, they are conciliate with the project at hand. In turn, the end product showcases the heart and the emotion that was put into it.

You ARE a creative person

Creativity is intrinsic to human nature, and to tell yourself "I am not a creative person" is a flat-out lie. Once you realize this, your passions will align with given mediums and you will be on the road to unleashing your creative potential.

Carmody, Bill. "Important Lessons in Creativity From Ed Catmull, Pixar Founder and Disney Legend." April. 2015.


Guidelines to Structuring a Business With Your 

Closest Relatives or Friends 


You are probably familiar with the saying, "build your network before you need it". Networks are usually first composed of close relatives. As such, the idea of starting a business with a close relative may be a venture you choose to embark on. According to data from the Harvard Business School, more than half of all companies in the United States are family businesses. Developing a tightly-knit business structure is beneficial to avoid any potential loopholes in the ordinary course of business. Here are some pointers:

Put things in writing

Avoid leaving any room for misinterpretation in your legal documents, and spend time putting everything from minor business practices to financial obligations and responsibilities in writing.

Get a formal business structure

Do your research and be as detailed as possible when building your business structure. Also in document form, explicitly include all do's, don'ts and consequences to promote accountability and transparency. 

Don't mix personal and business finances

Ethics is an important investment, whether you are entering into business alone, with a partner, and especially with close relatives where the possibility of gray areas and questionable actions can emerge. Keeping personal and business finances separate will ensure ethical behavior and success. 

Don't create two classes of employees

The golden rule: treat everyone equally. Favoritism should be left at the door if you want your business venture to be profitable!

Separate family and business time

This task may not be easy, especially once the family unit becomes immersed in the business, but it is crucial. Tough business decisions can cause rockiness in relationships, but one of the great parts of starting a business with relatives is that, more than anyone else, they know your strengths and weaknesses. When a day at the office is stressful and family time is needed, having a plan of action will lead to a happier and more effective work environment. 


Akalp, Nellie. "Keepin' it in the Family: How to Structure a Business With Your Closest Relatives." April. 2015.


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Mission of Sigma Nu Tau:


"To promote, recognize, honor, and reward academic excellence in entrepreneurship and to encourage and recognize the practice of principled entrepreneurship"
4 Types of Membership: 







Sigma Nu Tau Chapters



 #1 - SUNY Plattsburgh

Founding Chapter



#2 - Kent State University 

#3 -Belmont University 

#4 - California State University-San Bernardino 

#5 - Clarkson University



#6 -High Point University 

#7 - Claflin University  

#8 -Suffolk University 

#9 - Middle Tennessee State University 

#10 - Baruch College 

#11 - John F. Kennedy University 

#12 - Rowan University 

#13 - Illinois Institute of Technology



#14 - University of Baltimore 

#15 - New York Institute of Technology



#16 - The George Washington University 

#17 - Husson University



#18 - York College of Pennsylvania 

#19 - University of Iowa

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Issue: 21


In This Issue
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"Our egos are often the main thing that gets in our way of delivering outstanding creative products. That is why vulnerability is so important. To be vulnerable is to take risks, to be willing to fail and to accept that we are not perfect. Being vulnerable means we acknowledge that people may not like what we produce, and do it anyway. Vulnerability means we craft our story from a place of heart and emotion, not obsessing over logic but allowing our guardrails of the assignment to guide us." 

-Bill Carmody, Founder and CEO of Trepoint

[Source: Carmody, Bill. "Important Lessons in Creativity From Ed Catmull, Pixar Founder and Disney Legend." April 2015]


"If you have enough determination it's more likely that you will succeed because of what you learned from the occasions when you didn't succeed. The most important thing is to not be put off by failure."

-Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group

[Source: Raymundo, Oscar. "Richard Branson to Young Entrepreneurs: Just Do It.
Inc .com. Oct. 2014]



"You can't rely on mentors--I've only been able to identify them through self-reflection, after all. You must seek out your own. Don't let your influencers just happen. Be the architect, and line them up to help you achieve your idea of success."

- Christina Desmarais, Contributor

[Source: Desmarais, Christina. "5 Things to Look for in Your Next Incredible Mentor." Feb. 2015]


"One of the huge mistakes people make is that they try to force an interest on themselves. You don't choose your passions; your passions choose you." 

-Jeff Bezos, Chairman and CEO of

[Source: Spiro, Josh. "The Great Leaders Series: Jeff Bezos, Founder of" Oct.2009]


"I don't care if you succeed or fail, if you are Bill Gates or an unknown entrepreneur who gave everything to make it work but didn't manage to pull through. The important distinction is whether you risked everything, put your life on the line, made commitments to investors, employees, customers and friends, and tried--against all the forces in the world that try to keep new ideas down--to make something new."

-Charles Dixon, Co-Founder of Hunch

[Source: Brandon, John. "16 Motivational Quotes From Lesser-Known Entrepreneurs." Feb. 2015]

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Our streamlined website offers easy-to-find honor society forms and introductory information pages. The website now has a Chapter Directory page, a map of where our chapters are located, and step-by-step instructions for petitioning to establish a collegiate chapter of Sigma Nu Tau Entrepreneurship Honor Society at your college or university.

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Leadership Campaign Donors


2012-2014 Club


Mrs. Diane R. Carroll

Dr. Nancy J. Church

Dr. James Csipak

Dr. Richard Gottschall

Dr. Lise Heroux

Mr. Mark Kaiser

Dr. Augustine Lado

Mr. Rick Leibowitz

Ms. Karen Stehlin

Ms. Rebecca Van Auken

Mr. Fiorenzo Villani  




Next Month' s



Read about the

two newest Sigma Nu Tau Chapters at 

York College of Pennsylvania and University of Iowain next month's e-newsletter!

Sigma Nu Tau Entrepreneurship Honor Society
SUNY Plattsburgh - AuSable Hall 212
101 Broad Street,  Plattsburgh,  NY 12901

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