Young Alumnus Syracuse Business Owner Has Gilded Dreams
Scott Friedberg ’14 started his first business in middle school, building a snow removal company in his northern New Jersey hometown. As a seventh-grader, he hired a team of friends and matched the pricing of area landscapers. His competitive edge was developing the logistics around allowing customers—many of whom needed to be shoveled out before their commute to New York City—to schedule a specific time for service. Friedberg continued growing the business until he left for college six years later.
When he started college at the Whitman School, he wasn’t sure what major interested him, but he knew he wanted to start his own business. The Whitman School’s top-ranked Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprises Program drew him in and, by his sophomore year, he had built a profitable TV-based advertising network with a client list that grew to include not only Syracuse University but also nearby SUNY Upstate Medical University and Turning Stone Resort Casino, as well as local favorites like Varsity Pizza, J. Michael Shoes and Tully’s. He grew the business, Gilded Social, while also earning a degree in finance from the Whitman School and completing an entrepreneurship engagement fellowship in 2015 from Syracuse University's School of Information Studies.
Clients liked Gilded Social’s advertising network, and several asked Friedberg for guidance with their social media accounts. A viral campaign developed by Friedberg led to a lucrative new contract for a client. It also led to a handful of business owners looking for help from Friedberg and Gilded Social for their online presence.
We were established here, and it felt right to continue growing the business in the City of Syracuse, where I got my start.” — Scott Friedberg ’14
When Friedberg graduated with a degree in finance, he considered moving the business to New York City, but ultimately decided to stay in the Syracuse community.
“We were established here, and it felt right to continue growing the business in the City of Syracuse, where I got my start,” he says. “Moving it would have been a little bit like starting over.”
Gilded Social is in its 11th year and is now a full-service marketing company with eight employees. As CEO, Friedberg extended the brand a few years ago when he opened Gilded Club, a speakeasy-style bar in the popular Armory Square area downtown and, just last year, started a media business called cardbreaks.com, covering the sports cards industry.
Friedberg continues to stay involved with the Whitman School and Syracuse University, speaking to students every semester to offer inspiration and frequently judging various business competitions. This spring, Friedberg completed his initial commitment of donating $25,000 to the Panasci Business Plan Competition with his Gilded Social Rising Entrepreneur Award, which he started in 2018.
He says, “Starting a business was always my dream, and while there have been many people and places that have helped along the way, Syracuse University played a pivotal role. I knew I would give back to the program as soon as I could.”
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