Fostering Entrepreneurial Education Together

Welcome to Small Business Institute®


Register Now for the 39th Annual Conference!

Click here for the 2014-2015 Call for Papers and information on the 2015 Conference!

2015 Conference Speakers Confirmed!

Thursday, February 12, 2015 - Lenne Nicklaus, Owner, Sirata Resort

Friday, February 13, 2015 - Dan LeClair, AACSB Executive VP and Chief Operating Officer

SBI requests proposal for publisher of the Journal of Small Business Strategy -
click here for info

POY Entries now being Accepted!
Click here!

Click here for 2015 Conference Submission Guidelines

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. 

Academic member benefits: If you look closely at the SBI logo you will see the words Business, Community and Education.  Academic members of SBI have created many tools routinely used around the world in business consulting classes.  Students then use those tools to help business communities and strengthen the economies where both faculty and students live and work.  Experiential learning also drives SBI research, and many of our faculty do service projects using experiential learning.  So, Business, Community and EducationTeaching, Service and Learning.  There aren’t many places a faculty member can go and satisfy all of the requirements that their university and accreditation bodies place upon them, so if you are not a current SBI member we would like you to consider it as an option for your career.

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.

Student member benefits: The future depends on today’s student population, and at SBI we work to provide those students with the tools they will need in order to be successful. Students can now join SBI as student members (see for more details). A student membership section of the website is under construction and student members will soon have access to a discussion area where they can ask and answer questions, be provided with tools and templates that help them in their analysis of client companies, be able to view video of past winners in the Project of the Year competitions to help them identify best practices, and - as a practical aside - be able to show on their resumes that they participated in experiential learning as members of the SBI.

Finally, I want to invite you to our 39th Annual Small Business Institute® Conference that will be held at the Sirata Beach Resort in St. Pete Beach, FL from Thursday, Feb. 12 through Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015. We recently confirmed that Dr. Dan LeClair, the Chief Operating Officer for AACSB, will be one of our keynote speakers, talking about the emphasis on experiential programs in AACSB-accredited schools. The Call for Papers is on our website and the deadline is September, so make sure to get your papers in.  There is an exciting array of workshops, paper and abstract presentations, and engaging social activities that are sure to hold your interest, no matter what your expertise! Our Thursday opening reception will honor first time SBI Conference attendees as well as allowing you to network with long-time members. 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 starting a new Project of the Year Competition at their college or university, starting a new class or research project, or considering submitting to the Small Business Institute Journal or the Journal of Small Business Strategy. And remember, bring a colleague along!

As I close, I want to personally thank each of the Board of Directors for their hard work and willingness to go the extra mile, as well as Matthew Sonfield, our Fellows Chair. We all have the best intentions to continue the work of our former leaders to grow and sustain the Small Business Institute®. We need your continued support and engagement. Please, each of you, continue to be ambassadors for the work of the Small Business Institute® and the important work we do for small businesses and real student learning! 

I hope to see you at the annual conference!

John Hendon

President, Small Business Institute®                                              


What's New?


Keene State College is a liberal arts undergraduate institution and the SBI program serves as a capstone class for the management major. The liberal arts orientation often provides the SBI with an eclectic group of students and in 2014 two students - Lee Germeroth and Christian Torti brought their creative abilities to the program. Both graduated in May 2014 and they describe how their creativity impacted on their educational experience.  Click here for the full article.


At the annual SBI Conference in Las Vegas, the Best Conceptual Paper Award winners were Dr. Robert N. Lussier, Professor of Management at Springfield College and Dr. Matthew C. Sonfield, the Robert F. Dall Distinguished Professor in Business at Hofstra University.

Pictured:  Patrick Walker (left) presents the award to Dr. Lussier (right) 

The paper, Influence of the Entrepreneur's Education Level on Strategic Decision-Making, examined the relationship between the owner/manager's level of formal education and his or her choice of entrepreneurial strategy for the business.  Strategy was based on the Sonfield and Lussier (1997) Entrepreneurial Strategy Matrix, a situational model which suggests appropriate entrepreneurial strategies for both new and ongoing small business ventures.  Lussier and Sonfield are SBI fellows and as coauthors have published in Business Horizons, Family Business Review, Journal of Small Business Management, Journal of Small Business Strategy, the Small Business Institute Journal and several others.




At the 2014 Annual Meeting of the SBI in Las Vegas, Drs. Stephanie Thomason, Cheri Etling and Amy Brownlee won the "Runner-up to the Best Empirical Paper Award" for their paper entitled "Psychological Entitlement and Deservingness as Predictors of Socially Responsible Workplace Decisions."  The three authors are from the John H. Sykes College of Business at the University of Tampa.  Stephanie Thomason is the associate dean and an associate professor of management; Cheri Etling is an associate professor of finance; and Amy Brownlee is an assistant professor of management.


Pictured (left to right): Dr. Stephanie Thomason, Dr. Cheri Etling, and Dr. Amy Brownlee

Organizations of all sizes can gain a competitive advantage when their employees make ethically sound decisions that benefit organizational stakeholders.  Yet identifying employees most likely to make such decisions can be daunting.  Building upon agency theory and the literature on distributive justice, the authors posited that job candidates with higher levels of psychological entitlement and deservingness will make less ethical decisions for and about their organizations.  Results from a survey of 118 potential job candidates provide some support for our hypotheses.  Specifically, results indicate that deservingness is a predictor of the ability to make the most ethical choice in identifying a candidate for promotion.  Psychological entitlement and deservingness further correspond negatively to the choice to work for a socially responsible company.  Incorporating assessments of entitlement, deservingness, and ethical decision making with other selection tools, such as intelligence tests, and structured and behavioral interview techniques, may help organizations make appropriate and legally defensible hiring decisions.

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