Fordham Foundry Hosts Battle of the Bronx


The Fordham Foundry hosted the Battle of the Bronx with Manhattan College (Courtesy of Instagram).

The Fordham Foundry hosted the Battle of the Bronx on April 12, which is an annual business idea competition between Fordham University and Manhattan College. Each school puts up $5,000 for a $10,000 prize split between the winners.

Three of the winners from Fordham’s business idea competition in March, the Pitch Challenge, were chosen to represent Fordham in this competition.

“We started this last year during COVID,” said Al Bartosic, director of the Foundry. “We were looking to collaborate and get more engaged with other schools in the area that were interested in entrepreneurship. Manhattan College was a natural choice, just in terms of its location in the Bronx.”

Fordham won first place with the company Amazonian. Elsie Ndema, director of Talent Acquisition at TheGuarantors, GSB ’13 and GSB M.S. ’22, created the company. Her company also won the 6th Annual Pitch Challenge.

Ndema, who is six feet tall, has struggled to find women’s clothes that were long enough since she was in sixth grade. “Most retailers do not carry tall sizes, or at least include the inseam, so I can save myself the wasted time and heartbreak in either trying on the clothes and being disappointed or ordering online and having to go through the hassle of returning them,” said Ndema.

“It’s really difficult to find any stores that cater specifically to tall women, and when they do, they really only hit the beginning of the tall spectrum so women my height and taller have to search high and low. I hit a point in my life where I had enough. So I decided to help myself and others suffering from the same problem,” said Ndema.

Amazonian is specifically a tall women’s apparel line that gives women the chance to try on clothes at pop-up shops or through ordering online before actually buying them. With this new option, the women are able to ensure that they have clothes that both fit well and boost confidence.

With the prize money, Ndema now has a foundation to start putting her plan into action. “I’m going to start development and finally get my samples created with the prize money,” said Ndema.

Bartosic felt that Ndema came across as authentic and credible in her pitch. “I think she had very wonderful energy for both the Pitch Challenge and Battle of the Bronx. Her business plan was compelling in terms of how she was going to address the market,” said Bartosic.

Fordham also won second place with the company Opp4U. Opp4U was started by two freshmen in the Gabelli School of Business, Mark Katsev, GSB ’25, and Victor Schultz, GSB ’25.

“My business partner, Mark and I, are both Division I Water Polo players here at Fordham. We saw that only the top 1% of athletes, who are top stars in sports like football and basketball, were getting any sponsorships. This is mainly because smaller athletes like ourselves don’t have a large enough following to provide value to brands as individuals,” said Schultz.

“So what we decided to do is bundle athletes as groups of micro-influencers to create value and allow all college athletes, no matter the sport or school, to get access to opportunities to monetize themselves,” said Schultz.

“They have a really clever idea of how to package those students up and use them on Instagram and get them to be promoters of different brands,” said Bartosic. “It was really neat to see what people are thinking about, and it comes from all corners of Fordham.”

Katsev and Schultz plan to invest their money into marketing to help expand their brand and reach more people. “Ultimately our goal is to extend this opportunity to all college athletes,” said Schultz.

“The Foundry next year is going to celebrate its 10-year anniversary. What I think we have found over the course of the years is that entrepreneurial spirit and drive and interest in starting businesses is alive and well at Fordham,” said Bartosic. “There is a lot of entrepreneurship throughout the university, and we want to be able to support that.”