Downtown Espresso CaféThe Odette-Peddie Amherstburg Case Challenge will engage students in proposing business strategies for the Downtown Espresso Café.

Amherstburg business to benefit from student strategies in case competition

A $5,000 prize is at stake as UWindsor’s Odette School of Business and alumnus and benefactor Richard Peddie (BComm 1970, honorary LLD 2001) partner to launch a real-life business case competition this week.

Teams of students will be challenged to analyze and propose business strategies for Amherstburg’s Downtown Espresso Café and address the functionality of the shop’s adjacent outdoor space. In addition to teams from Odette, students from St. Clair College’s Zekelman School of Business and Information Technology have been invited to participate.

“We’re looking to students to provide creative solutions to enhance the profitability and appearance of the café and make it an even more welcoming space for visitors and people within the Amherstburg community,” Dr. Peddie said.

“Amherstburg is a true gem in our region and the competition will not only help students put their skills into action, but will give tangible support to a local business that contributes to the vibrant atmosphere the town has to offer. COVID and its restrictions have had an impact on all small businesses. I see this as a step in the right direction to get things moving again.”

Teams of three to five students each will compete internally at their own institutions in the hopes of being chosen as one of three teams from each school to participate in the final competition Nov. 26.

Competitors will be tasked with presenting both an oral and written submission and will also be judged through a 10-minute question-and-answer session. The winning team will be awarded a grand prize of $5,000 through the Richard Peddie Leadership Initiative at the Odette School of Business.

“We really feel like we’ll be getting the brightest young minds around to further the success of the Downtown Espresso Café,” said owner Renée D'Amore. “We’re always looking for innovative ideas to make our business more appealing to our customers and the Odette-Peddie Amherstburg Case Challenge is an ideal way to get a new perspective — we’re looking forward to seeing what the students come up with.”

Jim Marsh, dean of St. Clair College’s program, says he is excited to see his students working with Odette students to support the strengthening of businesses in historic downtown Amherstburg: “Supporting our community is what we are all about.”

Odette dean Mitch Fields added that real-life business case studies help students see their work in action and give them a chance to test what they’ve learned in the classroom.

“We are very excited about this competition. The Odette School of Business is very fortunate to have the support of Dr. Peddie and the community connection with the Downtown Espresso Café,” he said. “A chance to help a small business make a real difference in their operations will be an outstanding learning opportunity for all students involved.”

Interested students may submit teams of three to five members to Barb Barone at by Friday, Oct. 8.

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