Originally posted on April 22, 2024

by: Hal Thayer, Communications Director, FSBDC at UCF

Student Team Assists Local Small Business with Award Winning Consulting

Orlando, FL – A student team from the University of Central Florida’s College of Business recently won 1st Place honors in the 2023-24 ‘Graduate Feasibility – Comprehensive’ category of the Small Business Institute’s® (SBI®) annual Experiential Learning Project of the Year competition.

Competing against MBA teams from across the country, the UCF student team of Keith Bassett, Justin Pineiro, and Rachel Spencer won in the Graduate Feasibility – Comprehensive category on the strength of their consulting project for Trapline Pest Solutions, a locally based pest control company owned by Gladys and Wayne Salicrup.

UCF Group

This is the 19th time a UCF student team has won an award since 2009 when UCF and sponsor Florida Small Business Development Center at UCF (FSBDC at UCF) first participated in the SBI® national competition. SBI® is the premier provider of professional development for experiential student team consulting and entrepreneurship education, research, and activities.

The Small Business Institute® is featured as a graduate level class in the UCF College of Business’s Department of Management: ENT 5946 – Small Business Consulting. The course is led by faculty advisor and Department of Management instructor Dr. Carl Blencke as part of a management class. The Florida SBDC at UCF manages the program by recruiting its clients, evaluating the students’ skills, and then matching them to the clients’ needs. The student team is then guided through the process by an FSBDC consultant acting as the Case Supervisor.

“Congratulations go out to Mr. Bassett, Mr. Pineiro, and Ms. Spencer on their award-winning work,” said Rebecca Bennett, PhD., Professor and Chair of the Department of Management at UCF. “The SBI® program as part of our course offering is an important educational partnership between UCF and the FSBDC and a valuable experiential learning platform that contributes to the quality of the student educational opportunity at UCF.”

“Being recognized as 1st Place winners in the SBI®’s competitive awards program is an honor for our MBA students, our College of Business’s Department of Management, the College itself, and the University. It is wonderful recognition of the important contributions made by our UCF students and by the FSBDC and by UCF itself to the client Trapline Pest Sotions,” commented Michael Kilbride, Chief of Staff, The Office of the President, University of Central Florida with oversight of the Florida SBDC at UCF. “We commend the students who have contributed to a small business’s growth, to the FSBDC’s clients Gladys and Wayne Salicrup of Trapline Pest Solutions for their commitment to success, and to UCF’s College of Business for offering a class that so admirably serves its students and its Central Florida business community.”

In the winning project, the UCF team outlined a scope of work which included three parts: a financial analysis, a marketing plan (to include a detailed competitive analysis), and additional tools/deliverables including an operational plan, Action Plan & KRA (Key Result Areas) Tracker, and a Customer and Sales Tracker. These practical tools were designed to help Trapline operate more strategically and to boost visibility of the company amongst its target markets. The team provided a thoughtful and detailed competitive analysis of four of the client’s biggest competitors and included beneficial industry research focused on providing the clients with new insights into the pest control industry. A major and unexpected “value-added” for Trapline came out of the team’s financial analysis when it made a great discovery that Trapline was eligible for employee retention tax credits (ERTC), as it had actively remained open throughout the pandemic (keeping each of its employees).


About the Small Business Institute® Program in Central Florida

The Florida SBDC at UCF (FSBDC at UCF) sponsors the Small Business Institute® in Central Florida and, in conjunction with the Department of Management at the UCF College of Business Administration, manages the SBI® program locally. It recruits and evaluates FSBDC clients for the program, lends FSBDC consultants as SBI® case supervisors, and provides a range of guidance and support.

At the UCF College of Business Administration (UCF CBA), SBI® is a graduate‐level elective course. Students enrolled in the class provide management consulting services to local small businesses. Each student team has direct contact with the client and produces a professional case report. The report is the ultimate product of the program and is tailored to each business. Case study reports have included market research, marketing plans, competitive analysis, advertising strategy, customer surveys, strategic plans, financial analysis, human resource best practices, and business plans.

The SBI® Program is offered as a full-semester credit course through the CBA’s Department of Management. During the semester, the student teams complete extensive research and analysis to determine industry best practices; meet regularly to understand company processes and procedures; and perform wide-ranging analysis of business and industry strategies and performance. As a result of their efforts, the students are able to provide a comprehensive final report and set of recommendations.

SBI® is a nation‐wide program that provides high‐quality business assistance to companies in need while providing an extraordinary opportunity for university students to learn through field case studies. Each project is led and conducted by a group of students under the supervision of an SBI® Director or faculty member. The experience is often cited by students as being one of the most rewarding of their academic careers. In today’s collegiate environment there is a strong emphasis on experiential learning, and the SBI® has been at the forefront of this movement for over thirty years.

About the FSBDC at UCF

Hosted by the University of Central Florida (UCF), and with its main office in the National Entrepreneur Center located at the Fashion Square Mall in Orlando, the Florida Small Business Development Center at the University of Central Florida (FSBDC at UCF) is part of part of UCF’s Office of the President and the Florida SBDC Network.

The Florida SBDC at UCF provides aspiring and existing small businesses with no-cost consulting, low-cost training, and access to business data and research resources. In addition to its core service offering, the Florida SBDC at UCF also offers specialized services to qualifying companies, including capital access, market growth, government contracting, international trade, business continuation, cybersecurity, disaster planning and recovery, and more. The FSBDC at UCF serves an eight-county area that includes Brevard, Flagler, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole, Sumter, and Volusia counties and maintains 9 service centers across Central Florida.

In 2022, the FSBDC at UCF served more than 2,700 entrepreneurs in Central Florida with consulting services, resulting in more than 10,600 jobs created, retained or saved; $793.9 million in sales growth; $66.7 million in capital formation; $103.8 million in government contract awards; and 160 new businesses started. For more information, please visit www.sbdcorlando.com .

About the Florida SBDC Network

For more than 45 years, the Florida SBDC Network, the state’s principal provider of business assistance [Fl. Stat. 288.001], has nourished a statewide partnership between higher education and economic development to provide existing and emerging small and medium-sized business owners with management and knowledge resources that enable overall growth, increased profitability, and economic prosperity for Florida’s economy.

In 2022, the Florida SBDC Network delivered 117,750 hours of consulting to 14,758 small business clients – resulting in business owners securing $446 million in capital, $445 million in government contracting, impacting 23,515 jobs, increasing sales by over $4.5 billion, and creating 825 businesses.

With over 40 offices statewide, the Florida SBDC is funded in part by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Department of Defense, State of Florida and other private and public partners. The Florida SBDC Network, headquartered at the University of West Florida, is nationally accredited by the Association of SBDCs and is a recipient of the President’s E Award for Export Service. Florida SBDC services are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Language assistance services are available for individuals with limited English proficiency. For more information, please visit www.FloridaSBDC.org.