For the eighth year in a row, UNCG’s Bryan School of Business and Economics won big at the Small Business Institute (SBI) Academic Conference held last month in New Orleans.

The Friendly Pharmacy Project – the MBA capstone project of recent graduates Kaitlin Pendley ’15 and Kerry Radigan ’15 – won third place for graduate specialized (marketing) plan in the Project of the Year Competition. The students, advised by Dr. Jim Boles, developed an optimized marketing strategy for the local pharmacy with a goal of increasing market share locally.

“The UNCG team provided our small, family-owned pharmacy with an objective analysis of current marketing and sales trends,” said Jay Braxton, co-owner of Friendly Pharmacy. “As a result, we were able to focus our limited resources on a strategy that could grow our business while still providing quality customer care.”

Each year, the Bryan School submits two undergraduate or graduate projects to the competition, which consists of three categories: feasibility/business plan, specialized plan (marketing) and comprehensive. This year, 20 universities submitted a total of 33 projects.

“These are real-life projects with local businesses,” said Dr. Dianne Welsh, who serves as SBI Director at UNCG. Welsh is the Hayes Distinguished Professor of Entrepreneurship in the Bryan School and director of the Entrepreneurship Cross-Disciplinary Program.

“It’s a great experiential learning opportunity for our students,” she said.

Additionally, Welsh and Associate Professor Dr. Bonnie Canziani won the Distinguished Empirical Paper Award for their paper titled “Website Quality for SME Wineries: Measurement Insights.”

“We did this study because website quality is really important to the public’s perception of a winery,” Welsh said. “This is a very practical paper that serves as a great resource for the wine industry.”

SBI was formed in 1976 and is the premier organization dedicated to field-based student consulting and outreach to small businesses. The institute has 69 academic members across the country, including University of Cincinnati and University of New Mexico, among others. UNCG has been a member of SBI since 2009.

To learn more about the Bryan School, visit For more information about UNCG’s Entrepreneurship Program, visit


Story by Alyssa Bedrosian, University Relations