Andrew Holt, Ph.D.
Dear SBI members and colleagues,
During the last year, small businesses and academic institutions alike have had to demonstrate true ‘entrepreneurial’ spirit to survive the challenges of a global pandemic. SBI has also had to adapt, and as a result, we held our first virtual conference in February 2021. While it was disappointing to not meet you all ‘face-to-face’, our online event was a major success and allowed us to remain in touch, present new research, and reward our students for their hard work on various consulting and experiential learning projects.
As we come away from our virtual conference, I am thankful for the real strength of this organization – its membership. SBI truly is the “...premier organization engaging business, education, and the community.” We provide professional development opportunities for those involved in experiential student team consulting, entrepreneurship education, research, and community engagement. Additionally, a core component of our value proposition to our membership is the excellent networking and mentorship our members overwhelmingly provide. SBI provides huge value added for the membership, and they in turn impact local communities in many ways.
Along with the rest of the SBI Board, I want the organization to regain our pre-COVID momentum in growing and enhancing the membership. We will continue to host an exciting and wonderful conference each year, but will try to find news ways to provide additional value by developing new initiatives aligned with our core values.
One of SBI's unique strengths is the Project of the Year Program. We estimate that across North America, each year the Project of the Year Program reaches more than 2000 students and 400 businesses. As part of these experiential learning projects, students dedicate more than 105,000 hours per year, generating substantial economic impact for communities across the nation. Universities are under increasing pressure to engage students, innovate their offerings, and impact their communities and beyond. The Small Business Institute provides myriad ways to address these items, but none more explicitly than the Project of the Year Program.
If your university engages in consulting projects with local businesses, I encourage you to join SBI to see how you can utilize that work to an even greater extent. We work hard to help faculty facilitate strong consulting project programs and recognize the top projects submitted by faculty in North America each year. These national award-winning faculty attend the conference and share 'best practice' in managing consulting project-based classes.
Another area in which SBI excels is hosting two journals, the Journal of Small Business Strategy and the Small Business Institute Journal. Both journals offer authors great publishing opportunities, and the profile for JSBS, under the leadership of Editors Bill McDowell and Mike Harris has increased substantially across the past 3 years. The SBI annual conference offers a wonderful opportunity to share your work and to network with potential coauthors, but the journals provide a year-round opportunity to showcase the hard work of members and nonmembers alike.
As faculty and small business professionals, each of us has an obligation to learn about trends and topics in the small business and entrepreneurship realm. I encourage you to visit our journal websites and see the great work of scholars across the globe – all with implications useful to both research and practice.
I encourage you to think of your SBI membership as an investment in your professional growth and see what SBI can offer you through our work to emphasize and expand our values this year.