Students from the Anderson School of Management earned first place honors at the 2017 National Small Business Institute (SBI) Conference in San Diego, Calif. recently after competing against more than 75 SBI teams from across the nation at the graduate level in the Small Business Institute® Project of the Year Competition. 

The first of the two UNM teams includes student members, Kathleen Morgans, Ronald Olivas and Amy Slater. Guided by Associate Professor Dimitri Kapelianis, the team took top honors in the Graduate/Specialized category for their strategic marketing plan for Amrak Enterprises. This is the fourth year in a row that Kapelianis’ student teams have won a national SBI award. 

“I have found my experience in collaborating with the UNM SBI to be deeply rewarding,” said Kapelianis. “My students acquire practical skills and know-how, and local client organizations benefit from the students’ fresh perspective and keen insights; and for me, the experience keeps my teaching grounded in the practical realities of marketing strategy.” 

Adjunct Professor Holly Hitzemann’s student team of Tim Becker, Hayley Johnson, Drew Lovelace, Sabra Medina and Raphael Pacheco earned first place in the Graduate/Comprehensive category for their strategic business plan for Broken Trail Spirits and Brew. 

“The SBI program provides students real-world training for their future careers through this unique experiential learning opportunity, and really pushes students to a higher level of business acumen,” said Hitzemann. “We were all very proud of our UNM students’ work and the many accolades they received from the judges.”

Hitzemann’s teams have also received top honors in previous Small Business Institute® Project of the Year competitions. 

Acting Dean Shawn Berman praised the students and professors for their high achievements.

“Small businesses are extremely important to the New Mexico economy and I am proud that our students are using their Anderson knowledge to help this important sector,” said Berman. 

UNM SBI Director Stacy Sacco added, “we were very excited to hear about the UNM SBI awards and send our congratulations to all the professors and students!” 

UNM SBI reports have received national recognition for several years including earning top rankings among 75+ colleges participating in the National Small Business Institute’s® Project of the Year competition.

In addition, the Mid-Regional Council of Government released an independent study this past year stating that between 2014 and 2015 UNM SBI clients who applied the student’s recommendations created 195 direct and indirect jobs, which helped increase personal income statewide by $8.28 million and grow the state’s economy by $14.05 million in gross domestic product.

For more information, visit UNM Small Business Institute.