Student to Business Initiative

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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 and to register

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)

Application Deadline: Fall Semester: August 15 | Spring Semester: December 15

Click here to 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)

Application Deadline: Fall Semester: August 15  

Click here to apply

Marketing Advertising SBI Program

The Marketing Advertising SBI Program gives businesses a fresh and updated marketing plan including how to focus their marketing efforts and how to use social media platforms effectively.


  • Providing financial and marketing information.

Students will:

  • Define marketing efforts work based on client needs
  • Help define social media platforms
  • Show the client how to use social media for business marketing
  • Present the information in a professional presentation 

The cost of participation in the Marketing Advertising Program: $300.00 (scholarships may apply)

Application Deadline: Fall Semester: August 15 | Spring Semester: December 15

 Click Here to 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)

Application Deadline: Spring Semester: December 15

Click here to apply

Confidentiality Note: All students and staff members are required to sign confidentiality agreements to protect client information.

*Fee Note: Participation fees will be charged as shown, unless a grant or scholarship has been awarded to the 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.