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Students Team Up to Help Local Business in SUNY Canton Entrepreneurial Competition

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More than 40 SUNY Canton students participated in an entrepreneurial competition to help a college alumnus and entrepreneur expand his local business. 

Jonathan T. Pinckney ‘18 began selling EGO electric lawn products directly to consumers through his Garden Pro Tools company immediately after graduating from college. Previously, the enterprising student launched J&J Groundworks while enrolled in his two- and four-year degrees.  

Johnathan Pinckney uses an ECO snowblower to remove snow from a driveway. 

Canton business owner and SUNY Canton alumnus Jonathan T. Pinckney worked with college students during an annual entrepreneurial business challenge. Pinckney sells EGO electric lawn products through his Garden Pro Tools company.

“Jon is no stranger to innovation,” noted Professor Charles R. Fenner, Ph.D., who teaches in the Management program. “We’ve challenged our students to identify Jon’s market demographic, use appropriate promotional tools to sell Jon’s products and show how his products are better than his competitors.”

Pinckney is participating in the 5th SUNY Canton Roopreneur competition, which challenges students to help owners discover new ways to expand their businesses rethink their customer base and demonstrate ways how to reach their customers. Roopreneur is sponsored by a SUNY Canton College Foundation grant, which funds cash awards for the top three entries. Typically, those enrolled in Business programs create new marketing models for the companies, but the competition is open to all students regardless of discipline. Students have worked works with Canton businesses Luna and Gamer Craze in previous years.

 SUNY Canton students from Professor Charles R. Fenner’s strategic policies and issues class were among those who participated in the annual Roopreneur entrepreneurial challenge.

SUNY Canton students from Professor Charles R. Fenner’s strategic policies and issues class were among those who participated in the annual Roopreneur entrepreneurial challenge.

“We’ve received entries from all types of students including those in industrial technology, business and finance,” Fenner said. “The entire student body is represented in these entries including on campus students, online only students and commuter students from all over St. Lawrence County.” 

Pinckney sees EGO filling the emerging need for reliable lawn-care products that runs completely on electricity. “We have the best and most powerful battery-operated equipment on the market,” Pinckney said. “It can help make yardwork less of a chore.”

Students presented plans to diversify advertising, suggested teaming up with other area businesses, offering rentals and highlighting customer reviews, among other business strategies. 

Having previously taken classes with Fenner, Pinckney saw the collaboration as a natural fit. “I hope that providing real-world business scenarios is as helpful to these students as it was to me during my education,” he said. 

Winning student entries were made by the following students, or teams of students. 

First place:

  • Kevin Dorr, a SUNY Canton a Finance major from Getzville.

Second Place: 

  • William Ma, an undeclared major from Brooklyn.
  • Bailey Conklin, a Management major from Malone.
  • Adam S. Petric, a Business Administration major from Toronto, Ont.

Third Place:

  • Morgan L. Beldock, a Management major from Glens Falls.
  • Matthew P. Brown, a Management major from McDonough, Georgia.
About SUNY Canton

As Northern New York's premier college for career-driven bachelor's degrees, associate degrees and professional certificate programs, SUNY Canton delivers quality hands-on programs in digital design, engineering technology, health, management and public service. Faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to outstanding academic credentials. As SUNY's leader in online education, SUNY Canton OnLine offers hundreds of flexible and convenient courses as well as 23 online degree programs. The college placed first in 14 categories in a SUNY-Wide Student Opinion Survey, most notably in career services, tutoring, library resources, and classroom facilities. The SUNY Canton Kangaroos 15 traditional athletic teams compete at the NCAA Division III level as part of the North Atlantic Conference. SUNY Canton also features varsity esports and cheerleading.