Small Business Institute

The East Carolina University Small Business Institute Program (ECU-SBI) is an engagement program sponsored by the Miller School of Entrepreneurship in the College of Business. The purpose of the program is to provide specialized, on-site management assistance to small business owners while providing senior level entrepreneurship students valuable practical experience.  Since 2000, over 700 students have completed the SBI program, accounting for approximately 50,000 hours of fieldwork.

The ECU-SBI has assisted over 600 clients since its inception in 1974. The number of cases that the Institute handles is limited only by the enrollment of the consulting class. Student teams consisting of four to six members (under direct supervision of the director) analyze the business and its industry for the purpose of identifying core problem areas and developing cost effective recommendations.  At the end of the semester, a professional report is provided to the business owner(s) along with an on-site presentation of team findings.  All participants in the project are required to sign a statement of confidentiality, and all sensitive materials regarding the business are kept secure in the SBI.

The ECU-SBI has been recognized for its efforts by receiving numerous awards in the National Small Business Institute® Project-of-the-Year Competition.  The ECU-SBI has won first place in the nation seven times since 2006, while also finishing in second place another nine times.  Listed below are SBI Project-of-the-Year Awards since 2005

  • 2018 – 2nd Place, National Undergraduate Comprehensive Division
  • 2018 – 2nd Place, National Undergraduate Specialized Division
  • 2017 – 1st Place, National Undergraduate Comprehensive Division
  • 2017 – 1st Place, National Undergraduate Specialized Division
  • 2016 – 1st Place, National Undergraduate Specialized Division
  • 2016 – 2nd Place, National Undergraduate Business Plan/Feasibility Division
  • 2015 – 2nd Place, National Undergraduate Business Plan/Feasibility Division
  • 2014 – 2nd Place, National Undergraduate Business Plan/Feasibility Division
  • 2013 – 1st Place, National Undergraduate Business Plan/Feasibility Division
  • 2013 – 2nd Place, National Graduate Business Plan/Feasibility Division
  • 2012 – 3rd Place, National Undergraduate Business Plan/Feasibility Division
  • 2012 – 2nd Place, National Graduate Business Plan/Feasibility Division
  • 2011 – 1st Place, National Undergraduate Specialized Division
  • 2011 – 2nd Place, National Undergraduate Comprehensive Division
  • 2010 – 3rd Place, National Undergraduate Comprehensive Division
  • 2009 – 1st Place, National Undergraduate Specialized Division
  • 2009 – 1st Place, National Undergraduate Business Plan/Feasibility Division
  • 2008 – 4th Place, National Undergraduate Comprehensive Division
  • 2006 – 1st Place, National Undergraduate Comprehensive Division
  • 2005 – 2nd Place, National Undergraduate Comprehensive Division

In addition, the ECU-SBI won the 2010 National Small Business Institute® Showcase Award, and Dr. Michael Harris received the 2013 Homer L. Saunders Mentor Award from the National SBI. Dr. Harris also became a Fellow in the National SBI in 2017.

Area small businesses that want to learn more about the ECU-SBI and how it can help improve their business should contact:

Dr. Michael Harris, Director
Small Business Institute®
1200 Bate Building
East Carolina University
Greenville, NC 27858-4353
(252) 737-1057
harrismi@ecu.edu