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Small Business Institute (SBI)

The East Carolina University Small Business Institute Program (ECU-SBI) is an engagement program sponsored by the ECU College of Business. The purpose of the program is to provide specialized, on-site management assistance to small business owners while providing senior level and graduate business students valuable practical experience.  Since 2000, over 500 students have completed the SBI program, accounting for approximately 35,000 hours of fieldwork.

The ECU-SBI has  assisted well over 500 clients since its inception in 1976. The number of cases that the Institute handles is limited only by the enrollment of the consulting class. Student teams consisting of four to six members (under direct supervision of the director) analyze the business and its industry for the purpose of identifying core problem areas and researches problem areas for the purpose of developing recommendations as to how identified problems can best be solved.  At the end of the study, a professional report is provided to the owner or business manager along with an on-site presentation of team findings.  All participants in the project are required to sign a statement of confidentiality, and all sensitive materials regarding the business are kept secure in the SBI.

The ECU-SBI has been recognized for its efforts by receiving numerous awards in the National Small Business Institute® Project-of-the-Year Competition.  The ECU-SBI has won first place in the nation five times since 2006, while also finishing in second place another four times.  Below is a quick listing of the ECU-SBI Project-of-the-Year Awards since 2005:
  • 2013 - 1st Place, National Undergraduate Business Plan/Feasibility Division
  • 2013 - 2nd Place, National Graduate Business Plan/Feasibility Division
  • 2012 - 3rd Place, National Undergraduate Business Plan/Feasibility Division
  • 2012 - 2nd Place, National Graduate Business Plan/Feasibility Division
  • 2011 - 1st Place, National Undergraduate Specialized Division
  • 2011 - 2nd Place, National Undergraduate Comprehensive Division
  • 2010 - 3rd Place, National Undergraduate Comprehensive Division
  • 2009 - 1st Place, National Undergraduate Specialized Division
  • 2009 - 1st Place, National Undergraduate Business Plan/Feasibility Division
  • 2008 - 4th Place, National Undergraduate Comprehensive Division
  • 2006 - 1st Place, National Undergraduate Comprehensive Division
  • 2005 - 2nd Place, National Undergraduate Comprehensive Division

In addition, the ECU-SBI won the 2010 National Small Business Institute® Showcase Award, and Dr. Michael Harris received the 2013 Homer L. Saunders Mentor Award from the National SBI. The ECU-SBI is also home to the Small Business Institute® Journal, a leading academic journal in the field of small business and entrepreneurship (

Area small businesses that want to learn more about the ECU-SBI and how it can help improve their business should contact:

Dr. Michael Harris, Director
Small Business Institute®
329 Slay Hall
East Carolina University
Greenville, NC 27858-4353
(252) 737-1057
harrismi@ecu.edu

College of Business
3rd Floor Bate Building, Mail Stop 503
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