PSU’s Small Business Institute® Garners Two First Place Awards in National Competition

February 24th, 2012 by blyndes

Plymouth, N.H.–Two teams from Plymouth State University’s MBA program earned two, first place awards in the National Small Business Institute® Conference Project of the Year Competition. Judy Stabolepszy, Patrice MacNevin and Jennifer Johnson took first place honors in the Graduate Comprehensive Category by designing a three-year business profitability plan for the Dartmouth Skiway in Lyme, N.H. The team of Noah Munro, Robert Leda, Kristine Klinger and Samuel Paul also took first place honors in the Specialized Category by designing an expansion plan for the Mill Fudge Factory of Bristol, N.H., a multi-faceted family owned business. SBI Director Craig Zamzow noted this year’s accomplishments are impressive, given the level of competition.

“We typically compete with much larger institutions and ones with nationally recognized small business and entrepreneurship programs and this year was no exception,” Zamzow said.

The Dartmouth Skiway project team produced a broad overview of the operations with the goal of improving profitability. Their findings included: The Skiway needed capital investment, including snowmaking and the addition of a marketing director who would emphasize public access to the facility. Zamzow also noted, “The Dartmouth Skiway project is particularly noteworthy in that Dartmouth College was the client, two Dartmouth College employees and one UNH Durham employee comprised the winning team. This was a unique collaboration of three prominent New Hampshire educational institutions,” said Zamzow. Team member Judy Stabolepszy said the competition combined with the MBA coursework has given her tangible skills to succeed.

“I’m still in a bit of shock over the win, but where I really gained the most was in the project itself and the skills that I learned from being involved with a terrific team, working with Craig who was a terrific mentor and coach, working with the client who was supportive and enthusiastic, and all of us working together to produce a professional, applicable product,” said Stabolepszy. “It was the best educational experience of the MBA program.”

The Mill Fudge Factory team suggested a customer satisfaction survey guide decisions in revising the ice cream choices and the entertainment options at the arts venue located on-site. The team also concluded marketing the trademark product, fudge, through corporate gift packages and wedding favors.

Robert Leda of the Mill Fudge Factory team said the consultancy experience was very valuable, which confirmed his decision to enroll in PSU’s SBI program.

“The SBI program gave me everything that I had hoped for and I am grateful for the time I spent at PSU,” Leda said. “I am still in disbelief that our team took first place in the national competition. With Craig’s guidance, the team felt confident and proud of what we put together; it is very satisfying to know that the many hours of work were well worth the effort.”

Noah Munro was not only a member of the Mill Fudge Factory team, but also represented the client as the co-founder and general manager of this growing local business.

“This SBI project was incredibly valuable, both for my business and for me as a student,” noted Munro.  “On behalf of The Mill Fudge Factory, we are simply thrilled with this news and our partnership with Plymouth State University. Almost all of the suggestions made by the SBI group were implemented and have already helped us improve our menu and music. The marketing plan for wedding favors and corporate gifts has proven useful too.  We plan to build on that success this year.”

The Since 1976, students have won dozens of statewide, regional, and national awards in SBI competitions. Recent Small Business Institute® awards include:

· National First Place (2011, 2010, 2009, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 1999)

· National Second Place (2010, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000)

· National Third Place (2008, 2006)

· National Fourth Place (2004)

· Regional First Place (six awards between 1999 – 2004)

· Showcase Award for Best SBI Program (2003)

For more information about this release, contact Bruce Lyndes, PSU News Services Mgr., or call (603) 535-2775.

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