450 MBA Students Competed in the Inaugural Small Business School Challenge to Support Small Businesses

: May 20, 2020

For Immediate Release / May 20th 2020

This past weekend, more than 450 MBA students from prestigious universities all across America, including Yale, Stanford, and Vanderbilt, teamed up in response to the economic challenges small businesses are facing in the wake of the current pandemic. The inaugural Small Business School Challenge was a 48 hour virtual accelerated workshop and business strategy ‘hackathon’ May 14-16th that paired real local small business owners with teams of MBA students to create a plan forward to succeed.

The event brought together more than 150 small business owners, to receive support, ideas, and guidance from their MBA teams in addition to 100 business mentors and judges of the competition. Thanks to donations from 10 sponsoring schools in addition to community members contributing to the crowdfunding campaign, $13,000 in prize money is being distributed to 70 small businesses as a result of the challenge and the efforts their MBA teams made on their behalf. The entire virtual event was facilitated with technology from official sponsor RingCentral.

The 1st Place Winning team and National Champs were from University of Washington -Foster School of Business, including team members Evan Hallock, Brandon Young, Monisha Ray and representing business client Cuisinett, French Comfort Food & owner Geoffroy Raby.

Taking 2nd place, from NYU – Stern School of Business, were team members Becca Yu Zhou, Hannah Gotfredson, Lisa Gehring representing Incasa and owner Eduardo Vazquez! 

And the 3rd place team was from University at Albany, SUNY- School of Business with team members Ashna Sikand, Justin Collins, Oswaldo Aldaz, Whitney Philippi representing Troy Waterfront Farmers Market & owner Cindy Pohlmann.

Feedback from the small businesses who benefitted from a team of MBAs to help strategize was overwhelmingly positive. According to business owner Megan Flinn, “my team was incredibly open and supportive, listened and processed all my input to create some wonderful ideas that I’m able to implement immediately. They were kind and helpful, and I’m truly grateful for all of their creativity and work!”

The Small Business School Challenge is committed to continuing to support small business by challenging MBAs to build solutions that support Main Street America. “Even though this was born out of the crisis, the need for strategic help from busy small business owners, and demand to help and gain exposure to the small business world by MBAs, tells us this will be an event that endures. We plan to run it twice per year – in the Spring and the Fall – in a very similar fashion to this event” shared SBSC founder David Corfield.

You can follow the developments of the SBSC as they pursue independent non-profit status and collate all the knowledge and resources for small businesses to share on their new website, thesbschallenge.com. You can also follow their social channels @thesbschallenge on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Congratulations to all the MBAs who rose to the challenge to support small business, and to the schools and independents who supported this first event. 

About the Small Business School Challenge

The SBSC was originally conceived as a way to bring strategic help to small business owners in the wake of COVID-19, but will continue to meet both the needs of small businesses in America and of MBAs to gain exposure and experience to the small business world.

Media Contact: David Corfield, SBSC CoFounder, david@thesbschallenge.com