The UNM Small Business Institute at UNM's Anderson School of Management is now accepting applications from small business owners in the Albuquerque-area to take advantage of its expertise in creating business, expansion and marketing plans for the Fall 2011 semester.

Each semester graduate and undergraduate students, guided by faculty advisors, provide the assistance. The cost to small businesses is $400 - a modest fee considering private consulting services can cost anywhere from $150 to $250 per hour. The consulting is provided as a community service, and the $400 fee covers expenses associated with the project, such as travel, printing and binding.

A former client and the owner of an Albuquerque recycling business says he was pleased with his comprehensive business plan saying it would have cost him between $20,000 and $40,000 to get the same services from a private consulting firm. The SBI students examined the cost and capital he needed to grow his business in a new location and provided him with a five year business plan.

Another client, Diana Torres-Velasquez, of the Latino/Hispano Education Improvement Task Force in Albuquerque said, "The reports they provided are excellent guides for us to use as we plan our steps to get our organization formalized. The students' observations were right on target."

There are a limited number of openings available for the Fall semester and interested small business owners can apply online at before the Aug. 19 deadline. In addition to paying the fee, owners must also commit to meeting with the students at least six times during the semester and provide feedback at the end of the semester.

SBI Coordinator Jonathan Kahn says this is a win-win situation.

"Small businesses get top-notch consulting services for a nominal fee, and students get the real-world experience they need but often lack at graduation. There is richness in the experience of actually working with a business owner that you don't get in a case study."

Since it was founded in 1978, SBI has successfully helped more than 600 businesses including startup companies, expanding businesses, non-profit organizations, and family businesses. For more information, visit: UNM Small Business Institute.