More than 600 MBA students, business owners, and business mentors nationwide participated in 2nd Small Business School Challenge competition to support small businesses

: October 23, 2020

For Immediate Release–   This past weekend, more than 400 MBA students from prestigious universities all across America joined forces in response to the economic challenges small businesses are facing right now. 

The Small Business School Challenge was a 48 hour virtual accelerated workshop and business strategy ‘hackathon’ Oct 15-17th 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 130 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 sponsorships, $10,000 in prize money is being distributed to 33 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.

We’d like to congratulate the top 3 National Winners from this challenge event:

National First place: MBA team from Yale School of Management, Melanie Zook, Logan Schuelke, & Corey Baron representing their business client SparkFM

National Second place: MBA team from Carnegie Mellon – Tepper School of Business, Steffi Nazareth & Shelby Livengood representing their business client Oakmont Skin Care & Electrolysis, LLC

National Third place: MBA team from University of Washington – Foster School of Business, Aastha Garg, Kathleen Leuba, & Amanda Pearson representing their business client Laurel House Comfort Care Home

For a full list of all 33 national and school winners online visit 

Feedback from the small businesses who benefitted from a team of MBAs to help strategize was overwhelmingly positive. According to business owner Elizabeth Lore, “The team has really focused on providing practical, implementable advice, with a staged approach, and took on board my comments regarding feasibility on potential areas of development so that they have been assessed and agreed early on through discussion. They got up to speed really quickly with the challenges I had outlined, as well as others they had identified as priorities to resolve. Some of the recommendations they made I have already started to implement and I have found the process really motivating for me and the business.”

The Small Business School Challenge is committed to continuing to support small business by challenging MBAs to build solutions that support main street America. “After hosting 2 virtual events in the span of 5 months, we are more convinced than ever that leveraging the insights, resourcefulness, and genuine desire to make a difference MBA students possess on behalf of small businesses is a winning model to bring real impact and innovation where it’s needed most” shared SBSC Executive Director Katrina Cobb.

You can follow the developments of the SBSC as they collate all the knowledge and resources for small businesses to share on their website, You can also follow their social channels @thesbschallenge on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIN.

Congratulations to all the MBAs who rose to the challenge to support small business, and to the schools and independent professionals 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.