Small Business Institute, SBI

SBI® National Honors won by UCF Students in FSBDC at UCF Program

Student Teams Assist Local Small Businesses with Award-Winning Consulting

July 16, 2020


Contact: Hal Thayer, Communications Director, FSBDC at UCF, 407.420.4850 or

Orlando, FL –    The Small Business Institute® (SBI®), the premier provider of professional development for those engaged in experiential student team consulting and related entrepreneurship education, research and activities and the link between business, education and community, 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 (POY) competition, taking 2nd place in the 2020 ‘Graduate Specialized’ category and 2nd place in the 2020  ‘Graduate Consulting Project’ category, respectively.

In competition with MBA teams from across the country, the UCF CBA team of students 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. The company is a reverse logistics company specializing in managing lost and found items with a strong niche in the rental car industry. It received the team’s assistance in the form of an in-depth sales and marketing strategy which provided full industry and competitive analyses; professional sales, marketing, and customer service solutions driving scalability of the business; and visibility into both potential new market verticals and competitor positioning to help guide strategic decision making.

The team of Eric Sungadi, Sorabh Gupta and Williams Ambroise was awarded 2nd Place in the ‘Graduate Consulting Project’ category for its consulting work for Oviedo, FL-based Rhythm & Blues Enterprises, the operator of Tiajuana Flats fast casual restaurant franchises in Central Florida.  The team conducted primary and secondary customer research and competitive analysis, and the final report included marketing and operational recommendations aimed at increasing revenues. Both 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 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, with oversight of the Florida SBDC at UCF. “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 UCF students to the world of business consulting.”

The Florida SBDC at UCF (FSBDC) sponsors the Small Business Institute® in Central Florida and, in conjunction with the Department of Management at the UCF College of Business Administration, manages the SBI® program locally. It recruits and evaluates FSBDC clients for the program, lends FSBDC consultants as SBI® case supervisors and provides a range of guidance and support. The FSBDC is part of the UCF Office of Partnership and Innovation.

At the UCF College of Business Administration, SBI® is a graduate‐level elective course. 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 CBA’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.


About the FSBDC at UCF

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

About the Florida SBDC Network

For over forty years, the Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance [Fl. Stat. 288.001], has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide existing and emerging small and medium-sized business owners with management and knowledge resources that enable overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for Florida’s economy.

In 2018, Florida SBDCs have provided professional business consulting to 11,500 client businesses, resulting in more than 38,400 jobs impacted; $4.4 billion in sales generated; $520 million in government contracts acquired; $201.8 million in capital accessed; and 665 new businesses started.

A statewide network of over 40 offices, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Defense Logistics Agency, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network, headquartered at the University of West Florida, is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs and is a 2016 recipient of the President’s E Award for Export Service. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for individuals with limited English proficiency. For more information, please visit