Penn College students develop company, sell product for scholarship Fund

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- As part of a hands-on learning activity, business students at Pennsylvania College of Technology recently developed and sold a product to raise money for a scholarship fund.

The 16 students enrolled in the Business Planning and Operations course were tasked with forming a company, choosing a product, electing leaders, and writing a business plan, in addition to developing and selling the product.

From among three products pitched by the class, the students chose to form the company Billtown Bargains, selling cards that provide discounts to 18 Williamsport-area businesses.

After students elected a CEO and department heads, they submitted resumes and were assigned by the department heads to one of four divisions: human resources, accounting and finance, marketing, or operations.

The group presented its business plan to the dean of the college’s School of Business & Hospitality, as well as the school’s coordinator of academic operations, a faculty member and a student who participated in a similar project in the past.

The students also recruited local businesses for participation in the discount card, worked with a vendor to produce the card, and developed a plan for marketing and selling it.

“We are thankful for the generous support shown by the participating businesses,” said Chelsea A. Zakeosian, of Williamsport, a student in business administration: management concentration who served as CEO. “We hope to provide these establishments with increased customer patronage.”

Akkeem M. Watson, of Williamsport, a student in business administration: marketing concentration, said the project was valuable in showing the cohesiveness required in a well-run business.

“It shows you how important communication is,” added Jason N. Yorston, a business management student from Hellertown. “At first, we didn’t think everyone needed to know everything, but we learned how important it is.”

The value of a contingency plan was likewise demonstrated.

“You have a plan upfront for how things are going to go, then one phone call, and you’re working in crisis management,” said Lori C. Tobin, of Unityville, a student in business administration: management concentration who acted as the company’s vice president for operations. Also a sourcing analyst for Lonza, Tobin added, “Yes, it is a class, but it’s so realistic to what I come across.”

Proceeds from the project will be used for the Small Business/Entrepreneurship Scholarship, awarded to students who have a 3.0 or better GPA and have taken the Small Business Management course.

Before the selling deadline, the class had already met its goal: to generate more money for the scholarship fund than any prior class by earning a profit of more than $1,200.

To complete the semester, the students will finalize and present their business plan, noting what worked what had to be changed.

“I’ve always been a really shy person, and being elected CEO has opened a lot of aspects of my life,” said Zakeosian. “I think of all the classes I’ve taken my whole college career, this class has been the most significant to me.”

Additional participants were: James F. Bowes, of Montoursville, business administration: marketing concentration (and the class’s vice president for accounting and finance); Christian Calle, of College Point, N.Y., building construction technology; Aldo R. Dirupo, of Hermitage, management concentration; Courteney P. Fry, of Pennsdale, business administration: marketing concentration; Kaitlin L. Kneedler, of Muncy, business administration: management concentration and the class’s vice president for human resources; Alyssa D. Lee, of Roaring Branch, business administration: management concentration; Matthew D. Lowe, of Lancaster, technology management; Stacy A. Milheim, of Muncy, business administration: management concentration and the class’s vice president for marketing; Eugene F. Ramin III, of Williamsport, business management; Steven M. Seguine, of Hampton, N.J., technology management; Joseph A. Tavani III, of Hughesville, technology management; and Breanne L. Wentzel, of Hughesville, business administration: management concentration.

To learn more about business majors at Penn College, which is celebrating its Centennial in 2014, call 570-327-4505 or visit

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Last Updated April 25, 2014