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Letter from the President

The Small Business Institute® (SBI) was formed in 1976 and is the premier organization dedicated to field-based student consulting and outreach to small businesses. Our members are actively involved in projects with small businesses, entrepreneurial firms, and other organizations in their communities and regions. Through its journals and annual conference, SBI is the only academic organization in the U.S. that focuses intently on student experiential learning in business.  Other academic organizations focus on entrepreneurship and small business education as at least part of what they do, but the focus on student experiential learning and faculty development in the field of experiential learning is the major purpose of SBI. 

SBI offers our academic members a number of benefits, including, but not limited to the following: annual conference; personal and College/University awards; free entry into the Project of the Year (POY) competition; two (2) highly-regarded peer-reviewed journals; and much, much more. Award-winning papers at the annual conference may also get early review from the editors of our two journals. 

We are especially proud of the field-based student consulting projects that many of our members supervise each year. These experiential-learning programs are operated at both the undergraduate and graduate levels by colleges and universities across the country, and bridge the gap between subject competency provided by courses in business and the entry-level training that companies critically need. Teams of qualified university students, under expert faculty supervision, provide consulting to small business owners and managers as part of the students’ education. These programs emphasize practical, realistic, and affordable solutions to problems confronting small businesses.

Our camaraderie is key to what makes the Small Business Institute® a vital link to your success! SBI members are known for their welcoming spirit and are always willing to lend a hand to a colleague in program development, starting a new Project of the Year course at their college or university, starting a new class or research project, or submitting to the Small Business Institute Journal or the Journal of Small Business Strategy. This is what has made the SBI such a wonderful organization. 

I do hope that you will consider the SBI as a place to belong, and I hope to see you at the annual conference this coming February in New Orleans!

Bill McDowell

President, Small Business Institute®                                              


What's New?

Annual Survey to SBI Members

Below is a quick survey to gather information on your teaching and research efforts for the 2014-2015 academic year. As an organization we want to develop a better understanding of our impact at the institutional and community level. This will provide us with more quantitative data to better tell the “SBI story.” We want to capture the full efforts of our members through all experiential learning courses, even if you do not call it a SBI course. The survey contains 10 questions and should take 2-3 minutes to complete. Thanks for your feedback, and have a great summer.

2014-2015 Annual SBI Membership Survey

Michael Harris, VP Membership
Small Business Institute®

ECU Recognized with Several Awards at  SBI® 2015 Annual Conference


Dr. Michael Harris (right) accepts the second place POY Business Plan Division award from Patrick Walker (left)

East Carolina University won several awards at the Small Business Institute 2015 conference February 11-15 in St. Pete Beach, FL. Drs. Joshua Bendickson, Phillip Davis, and Michael Harris were all recognized with Best Paper Awards for their research work, while two student teams placed in their respective divisions for the Project of the Year Competition. See the press release linked below for additional information on ECU’s achievements.


Two Rider University Student Teams Place at    Small Business Institute® Competition


The competing MBA students stand behind their clients from Matossian Eye Associates.

Under the direction of Dr. Ron Cook, both undergraduate (3rd place) and graduate (1st place) teams from Rider University placed in their respective divisions of the Small Business Institute® POY competition. See the press release in the link below for additional information about Rider’s teams.


UCF Students Awarded Top Prices in 2015 Small Business Institute® POY Competition


Dr. Lloyd Fernald (center), SBI Director and Carl Blencke, Faculty Lead accept the UCF awards at the SBI Conference

 UCF had both a graduate (1st place) and undergraduate (3rd place) team take home honors with the 2015 SBI® POY competition. See the press release in the link below for additional information about UCF’s teams and projects.


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