The SBI, Small Business Institute, held its 46th annual academic conference this past Feb. 24-26th at the beautiful Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina in Mount Pleasant, SC on the water, a Conde Nest and U. S. News Best Hotel. SBI is always a smaller affair, and even though your editor went for only the second time, it quickly becomes family. We sought out SBI in 2019, attending that conference in New Orleans one month before COVID-19 stopped most gatherings. The reason was as chair of the USASBE (U. S. Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship) Small Business SIG (special interest group), we were looking for an outreach to local businesses. Someone had recommended SBI for its student consulting program that provides student internships to local businesses for a modest fee to help with accounting, marketing, and other everyday but important activities.
Our attraction to the 2022 conference was a plethora of breakouts explaining the student consulting model, one titled Leveraging the Student Consulting Model to Create a Comprehensive Academic Program, another on the Impact of the SBI on Students, Faculty, Clients and other Stakeholders, and finally a workshop titled How to Create and Run an SBI Program at Your University. All were offered by “old hands” Ron Cook, Rider University business dean, Michal Harris, chair of Miller School of Entrepreneurship at Eastern Carolina University (ECU) and Dennis Barber, an Associate Professsor at the Miller School. We were introduced to an academic paper on the student consulting model and the 6th edition of a textbook titled Management Consulting Project (Routledge, Taylor & Francis).
SBI is the premier organization for pedagogical research using field-based student experiential learning. The new Leveraging the Student Consulting Model February 2022 focuses on the role of the Small Business Institute® (SBI) program in academic program expansion and sustainability by embedding the student consulting model throughout the curriculum. East Carolina University has used the SBI model since 1974, and it served as a foundational element in the creation of its comprehensive Miller School of Entrepreneurship. A central theme has been the focus of experiential learning as a key tool in expanding curricular and co-curricular offerings. This includes integration into multiple courses and impactful community partnerships. Best practices are provided on how to utilize the SBI student-consulting model to guide program development, expansion, and longevity –
The conference was not all work and no play with wonderful keynotes during meals including the author of What an MBA Taught Me…But My Kids Made Me Learn from Bea Wray. She shared her experiences as a mother of three taught her how to negotiate, communicate, and adapt to the business world. Results from her gratitude program are far reaching. This photo of a social at the Harbor Resort’s Yacht Club overlooking Charleston show the spirit of the professors at play only outshone the final night of Salsa and Sangrias. I cannot encourage any entrepreneurship academics enough to experience a SBI conference. They have an array of practical and useful papers presented in a lively and enjoyable manner.
By Editor Clinton Day, Current in Entrepreneurship, Amazon Author