Last weekend, the University of Rhode Island (URI) held its 130th Commencement — a joyous moment to celebrate academic accomplishment and what’s yet to come.

At Safe Home Safe, we’ve also got a lot to cheer about when it comes to the best and brightest from URI.

That’s because earlier this year, we completed the pilot phase of a brand-new business case competition. 20 students from URI’s MBA Program in Strategic Innovation spent one week at our headquarters. And when they arrived, they showed up ready, with fire in their bellies.

After all, they accepted the challenge of dreaming up fresh ideas, strategies, and solutions for one of three businesses (all owned and operated by Safe Home Safe):

  • SmartGreen, which offers SBA loans to small companies
  • Identity Police, which offers identity protection
  • One Smart Mover, which offers concierge residential relocation services

Day 1 kicked off with a briefing and orientation. The student-contestants were then split up into six teams and assigned one of the three businesses. After that, they hit the ground running — having direct access to support and guidance from our executives and management team.

To offer MBA candidates the opportunity to put their technical know-how
and creativity to the test in an innovative environment.

All of this wouldn’t have been possible without the vision and passion of Diane St. Laurent, who is the Professor of Practice, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship at URI. Diane helped push our partnership into fruition, working closely with us on the program’s concept and design.
While URI has established plenty of partnerships with the business world, our competition-style approach was the first of its kind for her MBA students.

“We knew that Safe Home Safe’s needs were immediate, and that’s why we created an expedited program to specifically address them,” shared Diane. “This collaboration offers the students a chance to develop ideas using methods such as design thinking, lean startup, and the innovator’s method.”

On Day 7, the weeklong experience concluded with presentations to a panel of judges made up of our executives. Each team had 30 minutes to pitch their findings and “sell” their big ideas. Members of the winning team each walked away with a scholarship stipend (a prize that was hard-fought and well-earned!).

We’re happy to have received a thumbs-up from Dr. Maling Ebrahimpour, Dean of URI’s College of Business Administration, who said the partnership was “truly a mutually beneficial experience for both Safe Home Safe and URI.”

We couldn’t agree with you more, Dr. Ebrahimpour!

We look forward to strengthening our relationship with URI. As a matter of fact, we’re already discussing another installment of the business case competition for later this year. We’ll keep you posted!

From our family at Safe Home Safe to the entire URI community …

Congratulations on your 130th Commencement.

Best believe we’re still celebrating our new alliance with you.

Let’s keep learning, teaching, and growing together!