Compiled by Susan Christian / Times staff writer

Free Counseling: Business owners who are looking for a second opinion on how best to run their business but can't afford a high-priced consultant might try the Small Business Institute at Cal State Fullerton.

This summer, the institute will offer free counseling to about 10 selected companies. During a 12-week program that begins in June, MBA students will go on site to make recommendations and help business owners develop a plan of action.

Companies interested in applying for the program should contact the institute before May 15 at (714) 773-2251. The school will offer a similar program in the fall as well.

Under the supervision of Cal State Fullerton instructors, students will spend more than 300 hours with small-business owners. Applicants should have annual revenue of at least $1 million and employ a minimum of 10 workers.

So far, candidates include a wire and cable distributor, a fencing contractor and an ergonomic workstation manufacturer, said Mike Ames, director of the institute. Selections are made based on student-company compatibility, he added.

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