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Student to Business Initiative

Experiential Learning for UMD Students

SBI Collage 2018
2018 SBI Program - Pictured: (top) Duluth Coffee Co.,
(left) Fond du Lac Gas & Grocery, (right) Trailfitters

This experiential and active learning opportunity for current and professional UMD students requires teams to consult with your business under the direction of faculty members. Student to Business Initiative (SBI) course topics currently include Consumer Behavior, Accounting, and Advertising. *Businesses may be asked to pay fees for printing the team's final report, receiving a DVD of the students' files, and other items relevant to the course.

Many businesses report positive outcomes by implementing recommendations presented by the student teams, and some businesses participate multiple years in different programs:

"It was a pleasure working with the students through the SBI Program. They listened to what we wanted to achieve and came up with a great marketing strategy for our business. We look forward to implementing their recommendations in the coming months and seeing where it takes us."
- Wade Karnes, Zakobe LLC, participated in the Marketing Advertising Program in the Fall of 2017

Click on the SBI Program Name for more Information

Consumer Behavior SBI Program

The Consumer Behavior SBI Program gives businesses an in-depth analysis of how customers interact with and perceive their place of business based on consumer behavior principles.

Students will:

  • Analyze the business environment and customer interactions.
  • Identify key target markets of the current customer base.
  • Analyze the current use of consumer behavior principles in the establishment.
  • Make recommendations on how the business can alter the interaction or the environment to enhance the relationship with customers and potentially increase sales.

The cost of participation in the Consumer Behavior Program: $50.00 (scholarships may apply)

Accounting SBI Program

The Accounting SBI Program gives businesses a fresh perspective on their business financials, trends in the industry, and a budget for the next year.


  • Providing financial and marketing information including the past 3 years of tax statements.

With this information students will provide the business with:

  • Three-year historical financial analysis.
  • Three-year ratio analysis.
  • Trend analysis of your business.
  • The opportunity to expand QuickBooks usage and reporting for your business.
  • The opportunity to prepare next year’s budget for your business.

The cost of participation in the Accounting Program: $50.00 (scholarships may apply)

Green Marketing SBI Program

The Green Marketing SBI Program seeks to help businesses satisfy today’s cultural norm of “going green”. Words like “recyclable”, “reusable”, and “fair trade” have become a crucial part of today’s business strategy, and for some businesses, a crucial part of their business culture.


  • Providing the business's current marketing information.
  • Providing information regarding the business’s current consumption.

Students will:

  • Examine the current marketing strategies of the business.
  • Analyze the current consumption process of the business.
  • Make valuable recommendations pertaining to green marketing activities and tactics that may include:
    • Product modification
    • Packaging changes
    • Modifying pricing
    • Advertising and logistics

The cost of participation in the Green Marketing Program: $50.00 (scholarships may apply)

Social Media Marketing SBI Program

The Social Media Marketing SBI Program gives businesses an updated and effective marketing communications plan to use.


  • Provide information on current social media platforms the business is using

Students will:

  • Conduct a situational analysis, including identifying, analyzing, and researching target audiences, social media habits, lifestyles, and activities.
  • Develop a positioning strategy and persona for the target audience.
  • Identify communication objectives, strategies, and tactics.
  • Select social media zones and vehicles.
  • Create a content strategy encompassing selected social media zones and vehicles.
  • Establish an implementation plan including ongoing monitoring and evaluation.

The cost of participation in the Social Media Marketing SBI Program: $50.00 (scholarships may apply).

Retail SBI Program

The Retail SBI Program covers the principles of establishing and operating a retail business. There is an emphasis on retail management from a strategic perspective.

Students will cover:

    Retail marketing analysis and research
    Store layout
    Retail accounting
    Merchandise selection and financing
    Budgets and current trends

The cost of participation in the Retail SBI Program: $50.00 (scholarships may apply)


Click Here to Apply for an SBI Program

sba_and_sbdc_logos.pngFunded in part through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development and regional support partners. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the program sponsors. Programs are open to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Contact UMD CED at 218-726-7298.