University of Colorado at Colorado Springs economist and instructor Fred Crowley is looking for small businesses that want some free advice.

Senior finance students, taking the Case Study Class, Finance 410, are ready this semester to analyze a small business’ operations and help take it to the next level.

“It’s a capstone course for finance majors — it ties everything together,” said Crowley, senior instructor at the Graduate School of Business Administration and College of Business and Administration at UCCS.

Recently, senior students generated a “45-page sophisticated report” for a local small business, which has separate product lines. Students included the recommendation that for liability and other reasons the company create separate businesses, for the product lines, under a holding company.

Crowley is seeking candidate companies with “definable, doable projects, within the length of this semester.” Students will begin work on the projects in February, and the class concludes during the middle of May. Two or three companies will be chosen.

Candidate companies should fulfill one of these requirements:

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be a small start-up or a company that needs a formal business plan

be a company that needs to know whether to buy or lease a building or whether to relocate

be a company that wants to know whether to replacing existing equipment with more modern, higher capacity equipment or

need to examine capital structure and how to lower the cost of financing

or businesses that need a competitive analysis.

Any data or information that companies supply to Crowley and the class must be real data.

“Students can’t work on fictitious data,” he said, adding that they can sign nondisclosure agreements.

The time commitment for companies is minimal. It involves the initial meeting, supplying data and attending the students’ formal presentation of the analysis at the end of the semester.

Participating companies will receive a professional document that will facilitate decision making, Crowley said.

Interested companies may contact Crowley at 255-3531 or


  1. I would love to participate in this class project. I have only been in business 3 years and I am still in the start up phase, have not taken out a loan and am just now at the point that I feel we (I) can start marketing to try to attain potential customers. I know that I need to work on a competitive analysis but, I don’t know where to start.
    Being a start up business with a lot of passion for children’s portraiture is not enough for me to hire anyone yet to help me with these projects. This is a great idea and I would be more than willing to provide the class with all of my real data.

    Thank you for your consideration,

    Laura Mikolaitis
    Photographic Artist
    Once Upon A Time Portraiture
    (719) 339-5433

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