The undergraduate and graduate teams both placed in the top three of the Small Business Institute Association’s Consulting Project of the Year competition.
Meaghan Haugh

Rider's graduate Small Business Institute team worked with Vanquish Fencing.

Two student teams from Rider University placed in the top three of the Small Business Institute Association’s Consulting Project of the Year competition, which awards the best student consulting projects from around the country. The graduate and undergraduate teams from Rider were recognized at the association’s 35th Annual National Conference in February in Bonita Springs, Fla.

“This is the first time that Rider has placed two teams in the top three in a single year, and the first time we had national winners three years in a row,” said Dr. Ron Cook, professor of Entrepreneurial Studies and director of Rider’s Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and Small Business Institute. “Having been a judge in this competition in different categories from my entries, I can appreciate the quality of the projects submitted and the effort the students must make to reach this level of success. I could not be prouder of these students.”

Michael Briehler of Pennington, N.J., a May 2010 graduate, Craig Piotrowski of Lawrenceville, N.J., a December 2010 graduate, and Kwesi Vincent of Ewing, N.J.,  a current M.B.A. student, received second place in the Graduate Specialized Project category for their work with the Morrisville, Pa.-based company Vanquish Fencing. The graduate students designed a marketing strategy for the company as part of Cook’s Consulting for New and Small Businesses course during the 2009-10 academic year. Vanquish Fencing, owned by Don Moore, makes an animal deterrent system that keeps small crawling animals out of utility substations, thereby preventing interference with electrical equipment and potential power outages.

Laure Marini of Annandale, N.J., a senior Marketing and International Business major; Thibaut Bernigaud of Ecully, France, who received a dual degree from Rider and Centre d’études Franco americain de management (CEFAM) in May 2010; and Gary Hauguel of Luneray, France, a senior in the Rider-CEFAM dual degree program, received third place in the Undergraduate Business Plan category for their work with Eastern Monmouth Physical Therapy, in Neptune, N.J. The students wrote a business plan to help Brian Mullins expand his business into a wellness center during the 2009-10 academic year.

“I am very happy with the undergraduate team’s accomplishments, but what is even more impressive to me is that the team developed an award winning project when two of the members are from another country and English is not their native language,” Cook said. "We appreciate the generous support of our SBI sponsor Grand Bank."