From the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida

The Small Business Institute® (SBI®) recently announced that two (2) student teams from the University of Central Florida’s College of Business Administration (UCF CBA) were winners in its annual Project of the Year competition. One team took 2nd place in the 2020 ‘Graduate Specialized’ category, and the other took 2nd place in the ‘Graduate Consulting Project’.

The 2nd place winning team of the 2020 ‘Graduate Consulting Project’ category was the UCF team of Eric Sungadi, Sorabh Gupta and Williams Ambroise. These students won because of the outstanding consulting work they did for the Oviedo-based Rhythm & Blues Enterprises, the operator of Tijuana Flats fast casual restaurant franchises in Central Florida.

These students did the hard work that earned them their honors. By conducting primary and secondary customer research, performing competitive analysis, and providing a final report that included marketing and operational recommendations aimed at increasing revenues, this team did what it took to bring to the table just what the business needed.

The student team of Jonathan Diaz, Carter Howard and Danielle Mayers won 2nd Place in the ‘Graduate Specialized” category on the strength of its consulting project for a local company, Lost Returns, Inc. of Winter Park, FL.

Both of the winning teams worked with faculty advisor Dr. Carl Blencke, an instructor for the UCF CBA’s Department of Management, as part of a management class.

“The UCF College of Business applauds our students on winning these important awards,” said Ron Piccolo, PhD. and Galloway Professor and Chair of the Department of Management. “Our course offering utilizing the SBI® program is an important educational partnership between UCF and the Florida Small Business Development Center (FSBDC) which contributes to the quality of the student educational experience at the University of Central Florida.”

“UCF’s and my own congratulations go to the winners of the 2020 Small Business Institute® Awards,” commented Mike Kilbride, Assistant Vice President for Administration and Operational Innovation in UCF’s Office of Partnership and Innovation. “Experiential learning for our students and economic development support for our small business community are both mission critical at the University of Central Florida.”

“The success achieved by these impressive students is truly gratifying for the FSBDC at UCF,” commented Eunice Choi, Regional Director for the FSBDC at UCF. “The SBI® program continues to be an excellent way for the FSBDC and UCF itself to support small businesses in Central Florida while also introducing students to the world of business consulting.”

SBI® is a graduate‐level elective course at UCF. Students enrolled in the class provide management consulting services to local small businesses. Each student team has direct contact with the client and produces a professional case report. The report is the ultimate product of the program and is tailored to each business. Case study reports have included market research, marketing plans, competitive analysis, advertising strategy, customer surveys, strategic plans, financial analysis, human resource manuals and business plans.

The SBI® Program is offered as a full-semester credit course through the College of Business Administration’s Department of Management. During the semester, the student teams oversaw and implemented extensive research and analysis to determine industry best practices; met regularly to understand company processes and procedures; and performed wide-ranging analysis of business and industry strategies and performance. As a result of their efforts, the students were able to provide a comprehensive analysis and set of recommendations.

SBI® is a nation‐wide program that provides high‐quality business assistance to companies in need while providing an extraordinary opportunity for university students to learn through field case studies. Each project is led and conducted by a group of students under the supervision of an SBI® Director or faculty member. The experience is often cited by students as being one of the most rewarding of their academic careers. In today’s collegiate environment there is a strong emphasis on experiential learning, and the SBI® has been at the forefront of this movement for over thirty years.

Hosted by the University of Central Florida (UCF), and with its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of the UCF Office of Partnership & Innovation and the Florida SBDC Network. 

The Florida SBDC at UCF provides aspiring and existing small businesses with no-cost consulting, low-cost training, and access to business data and research resources. In addition to its core service offering, the Florida SBDC at UCF also offers specialized services to qualifying companies, including capital access, market growth, government contracting, international trade, business continuation, cybersecurity, disaster planning and recovery, and more. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 10 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2018, the FSBDC at UCF served over 2,500 entrepreneurs in Central Florida with consulting services, resulting in more than 6,500 jobs created, retained or saved; $749 million in sales growth; $36.1 million in capital formation; $178.3 million in government contract awards; and 277 new businesses started. For more information, please visit



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