Graphic design major Kailyn Lapham ’20 of Medway, Mass., placed third at the seventh annual Free Enterprise Marathon held March 1 on the SUNY Plattsburgh campus in New York. With her presentation “Free Enterprise: Why It Is Essential for Tomorrow’s Entrepreneurs,” she competed against students from 12 other colleges to take home $600 in prize money.

“Free enterprise is essential for tomorrow's entrepreneurs because it gives them the freedom to dream as big as they can and then work as hard as they can to get there,” Lapham said. “In my world, graphic design and business are intertwined. People tend to think of graphic design as the only way to be creative in a professional setting, but in reality, business requires just as much creativity. The intersection of arts and business is important because it relates how people think with the visual elements that attract them.”

The Free Enterprise Marathon was created to give high school and college students an understanding of free enterprise. During competition, participants take part in a speak-off challenge. Lapham, who took BUS350 Be Your Own Boss with Assistant Professor of Business Administration Loren Wehmeyer, won the class’s competition to represent Colby-Sawyer at Plattsburgh.

“This experience pushed me to step outside my comfort zone – I’ve never had to memorize a four-minute speech or talk in front of so many strangers,” Lapham said. “The support of my classmates and professor was crucial to my success.”

In the Marathon’s creativity and innovation competition, teams create and present an inventive and feasible product. Colby-Sawyer was the only college to field two full teams for the entrepreneurship competition.

Participating students were, on Team 1: Lapham; exercise science major Patrick Fealy '19 from Boston, Mass.; environmental studies major Cameron Lynch ’20 of Haverhill, Mass.; and business administration major Dibin Sainju ’21 of Nepal.

Team 2 members were business administration majors Joseph Cornelio '19 and Aquiles Marcano '20, both of New London, N.H.; business administration major Ransom Roberts '21 of Dover, N.H.; and self-designed major KJ Synvrit '21 of Miami, Fla.

“Entrepreneurship is about an idea and about action. The discipline-independent nature of problem-solving in a team entrepreneurship competition builds confidence, enhances creativity, and emboldens our students to take the chances necessary to be successful in life,” Professor Wehmeyer said. “There is something very powerful about competing with other colleges on complex and unconstrained problems.”