The on-going COVID-19 pandemic has been an unimaginable upheaval for most organizations. Students on the cusp of graduation are among some of the worst hit. However, as they say, ‘necessity is the mother of all inventions’, and some enterprising students are putting the formula to the test.
Two friends from Dublin school of Business, named Rob and Ryder, saw their job prospects disappear in the thin air as the pandemic hit. Instead of hanging up their shoes, these two business students decided to set up a non-profit to cater to small businesses.
The non-profit named, ‘COVID Interns’ became a matchmaking platform for small businesses struggling amidst COVID-19, and graduate students in the same boat. Rob and Ryder realized that many small businesses struggled with skills like digital marketing, business financial planning, web development, and consulting. The ‘deal’ struck soon turned into gold for both parties as soon over 100 volunteer signed up for the non-profit venture.
The pandemic has also been a life-saver for opportunities for testing mettle through challenging competitions. Students from SciencesPo, and Ecole Polytechnique joined hands to organize a hackathon to help the health industry reeling from the pandemic. The event drew over 1,400 hackers, and mentors, resulting in 103 projects in just 48 hours. The winner of the event, Granny, addressed the challenge of communicating with sick relatives in elder homes amidst the pandemic. Another venture, Midad, a smart mask, and app laden with AI, helped detect COVID-19 infection, which eventually went onto raise funding.
Pro Bono Work Will Likely Continue in the Future
These students also received experience on a wide variety of ventures including breweries, small restaurant chains, and local charities, among others. The non-profit soon placed many students from several Irish universities, and business schools including colleges like Trinity, and University of Cambridge, and even the prestigious London School of Economics. Students from other colleges like University of Edinburgh, Imperial College of London, also used the services to reach out to employers.
According to industry experts, the demand for pro-bono work will likely continue even after the pandemic. Many industries, mainly the SMEs are reeling from enormous pile of inventory, and debts in many areas. Moreover, the pandemic has also thrown off several business processes including key requirements like competitive hiring. Besides, processes like web development, digital marketing are new areas which often put undue pressures on small businesses. The pandemic may have been a curse to small business owners in many ways. However, organizations like COVID Interns will play a key role in turning around some dark corners in business management
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