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UCF Students Win Small Business Institute National Honors

A student team from the University of Central Florida’s College of Business recently won 1st Place honors in the 2023-24 ‘Graduate Feasibility – Comprehensive’ category of the Small Business Institute’s annual Experiential Learning Project of the Year competition.




Competing against MBA teams from across the country, the UCF student team of Keith Bassett, Justin Pineiro, and Rachel Spencer won in the Graduate Feasibility – Comprehensive category on the strength of their consulting project for Trapline Pest Solutions, a locally based pest control company owned by Gladys and Wayne Salicrup.

This is the 19th time a UCF student team has won an award since 2009 when UCF and sponsor Florida Small Business Development Center at UCF (FSBDC at UCF) first participated in the SBI national competition. SBI is the premier provider of professional development for experiential student team consulting and entrepreneurship education, research, and activities.

The Small Business Institute® is featured as a graduate level class in the UCF College of Business’s Department of Management: ENT 5946 – Small Business Consulting. The course is led by faculty advisor and Department of Management instructor Dr. Carl Blencke as part of a management class. The Florida SBDC at UCF manages the program by recruiting its clients, evaluating the students’ skills, and then matching them to the clients’ needs. The student team is then guided through the process by an FSBDC consultant acting as the Case Supervisor.

“Congratulations go out to Mr. Bassett, Mr. Pineiro, and Ms. Spencer on their award-winning work,” said Rebecca Bennett, PhD., Professor and Chair of the Department of Management at UCF. “The SBI program as part of our course offering is an important educational partnership between UCF and the FSBDC and a valuable experiential learning platform that contributes to the quality of the student educational opportunity at UCF.”

“Being recognized as 1st Place winners in the SBI’s competitive awards program is an honor for UCF’s MBA students, the College of Business’s Department of Management, the College itself, and the University. It is wonderful recognition of the important assistance provided by the combination of UCF students, the FSBDC and by UCF itself to our client Trapline Pest Sotions,” commented Eunice Choi, Regional Director at the Florida SBDC at UCF. “We applaud the students who have contributed to a small business’s growth, to the FSBDC’s clients Gladys and Wayne Salicrup of Trapline Pest Solutions for their commitment to success, and to UCF’s College of Business for offering a class that so admirably serves its students and its Central Florida business community.”

In the winning project, the UCF team outlined a scope of work which included three parts: a financial analysis, a marketing plan (to include a detailed competitive analysis), and additional tools/deliverables including an operational plan, Action Plan & KRA (Key Result Areas) Tracker, and a Customer and Sales Tracker. These practical tools were designed to help Trapline operate more strategically and to boost visibility of the company amongst its target markets.

The team provided a thoughtful and detailed competitive analysis of four of the client’s biggest competitors and included beneficial industry research focused on providing the clients with new insights into the pest control industry. A major and unexpected “value-added” for Trapline came out of the team’s financial analysis when it made a great discovery that Trapline was eligible for employee retention tax credits (ERTC), as it had actively remained open throughout the pandemic (keeping each of its employees).

The Florida SBDC at UCF (FSBDC at UCF) 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.



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