SUNY Plattsburgh Grad Finalist at National Entrepreneurship Competition
People of Plattsburgh
An innovative product developed by new SUNY Plattsburgh graduate Vladamiere Perry earned him a spot as a finalist in a national entrepreneurship competition.
Perry, an entrepreneurship and marketing double major, and his business partner Dahlia Rosen, a nutrition and food science major at the University of Vermont, developed a nacho lime-flavored corn chip made partially with crickets — yes, crickets — they call “Mitey Bites.”
Competition a ‘Memorable Weekend’
In April, he traveled with Rosen and Dr. Richard Gottschall, associate professor and chair of entrepreneurship, to the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis for the 2023 e-fest Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Competition.
“It was a very memorable weekend,” Perry said. “We were all competing for a prize pool of $215,000. They were very generous giving it away to all the students they could.”
The competition was established by the founder of Best Buy, Richard Schulze. Perry delivered his company’s pitch alongside students from Ivy League institutions.
College ‘Values Experiential Learning’
The duo placed in the top 15 out of 110 competitors and took home $1,000 to continue the development of Mitey Bites.
Gottschall said he was thankful to be at the competition supporting Perry despite the event falling at one of the busiest times of the semester.
“When opportunities do arrive the SBE (School of Business and Economics) can very quickly mobilize resources to help student achievement,” Gottschall said. “We value experiential learning and work to provide these types of opportunities.”
Origin of Business Idea
“Vlad first conceived of this idea for my ‘Pitch with Rich’ program,” Gottschall said. “It is a low-pressure opportunity to present a raw idea and get feedback and participants get a $25 gift certificate to a local business.”
Perry did further work on Mitey Bites in Gottschall’s entrepreneurial resourcefulness course, Gottschall said.
He connected Perry with some entrepreneurial alumni and other businesspeople from the community.
“Vlad has taken advantage of every opportunity to engage with supporters and develop his project,” Gottschall said.
‘Simple, Sustainable Ingredients’
Perry, a native of Kerhonkson, N.Y., works on the business side of Mitey Bites, while Rosen conducts food science research in a lab at the University of Vermont.
Perry said they are working with a small business development program at Clarkson University to start the trademarking process.
A benefit of using insects as an ingredient is that they are both sustainable and add protein, increasing the nutritional value of the snack food.
“I’m interested in trying to leave the planet a bit better than when I got here,” Perry said. “That’s a lot of the passion behind the company.”
To help make consuming a product made with insects more palatable, developers should integrate the material into recognizable food products, Perry said.
“They’re good. It’s hard to compare it to a Dorito or a Frito — I would say that it stands up to anything that has more wholesome backgrounds. We try to keep the ingredients super simple.”
Gastronomy Master’s Degree
This fall, Perry is beginning a master’s program in gastronomy at Boston University.
“We’re going to keep entering business plan competitions,” he said. “Dahlia has been encouraged by a lot of her professors to continue her research.”
Rosen received a grant from UVM to help fund her product development research.
Gottschall said Perry’s future looks bright.
“Vlad has been able to make more valuable connections with like-minded people who are interested in other entrepreneurial thinkers. He is developing a network of people who like to help him, regardless of the venture he is pursuing,” Gottschall said. “His work with Mitey Bites has contributed to a body of knowledge and growing interest that can serve him very well in the future.”
Those interested in following Perry and Rosen’s business journey can follow Mitey Bites’ Instagram account @mitey_bites_snack.
— By Assistant Director of Communications Felicia Krieg