Skidmore senior to start a placement service business in Beijing

Posted by Elizabeth Hopkins

This summer, Samuel Schultz '13 will embark on a plane to Beijing to start a summer camp placement service for Chinese students. Schultz plans to provide families looking for a summer camp in the United States for their child with a search utility that will suggest recommendations based on their child's interests. The service will be called Summer Destinations and will be based out of Beijing.

Schultz recently won the $20,000 first prize in the third annual Kenneth A. Frierich Business Plan Competition. This prize will enable Schultz to initiate his five-year plan to start Summer Destinations.

The service will specifically cater to a wealthy demographic of Chinese nationals, whose children have learned English. Families like these may be seeking to provide their child with a more immersive English experience, an opportunity to investigate interests, or gain a summer experience in a natural environment, outside of the city of Beijing. Schultz said that he aims to ensure that families "know of this opportunity and its positive aspects, and give their children the means" to attend a summer camp. "I created a foundation of connections in Beijing," Schultz added, which he hopes to use to facilitate the expansion of the business.

"The initial camp roster is comprised of established residential summer camps in the Northeast," Schultz said. He hopes to expand this roster annually to include more specialized camps in other parts of the U.S.

At Skidmore College, Schultz has majored in International Affairs and Asian Studies and minored in Business. "My academic experience has given me great preparation to begin this business," Schultz said. "It's great to finally be doing academic work that will have a tangible benefit on my future."

Past learning experiences and visits to China drove Schultz to seek Beijing as his starting place. He first traveled to China for studies in his junior year of high school. There he gained a solid grasp on the language and culture. During a recent trip to China this past summer with his father, Schultz met two children, who were both probably around eight or ten-years-old and natives of Beijing. In addition to Chinese, the kids spoke English and German. At such young ages, the kids provided Schultz with inspiration and sparked the idea to start Summer Destinations.

Promotions for Summer 2014 will begin in September or October as the application deadline is April 1 for most camps. Until then, Schultz will spend this summer preparing for his trip to Beijing, publicizing the service and establishing business connections. In the first five years, he will divide his time between Beijing, working there August through April, before heading back to the U.S. to check on progress at the camps.

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